Opposed to normal genealogy, an adoptees path sometimes forces them to focus on a thin line of a specific timeframe. For instance, one of the adoptees I am helping is looking for a birth mother who was born in nineteen hundred and nine. Our non-identifying information has a first and last name and a geographical location in Texas.
We have already built out a tree from one of her closest DNA related cousins, but found no one that fit that description within range of that cousin. So the assumption now is that the first tree may belong to her birth father. We now have around five hundred people in the second tree based on a genetically linked third cousin. It appears thus far that this tree does not link up with the other, so we are likely now working within her birth mother’s side of the family.
The idea is to take every relative out four generations (for this 3rd cousin) and back down toward the birth of a female child within the year mentioned previously. If we focus on doing just that we do not have to waste a lot of time going off in all directions with no rhyme or reason.
To gage our distance we assign the DNA related cousin the role of the home person on our ancestry.com tree. This way, we can constantly check our position to them and not get lost on a tangent that would not directly relate back to the cousin. So we can avoid wandering down the path of someone like the third cousin's, “wife of 2nd great grand uncle”. This still requires careful acceptance of clues, documentation to back up hints, and special consideration for people who appear as if they never married.
Sometimes it requires searching for ancestors to provide or disprove that an individual actually did spend their life alone before moving on. You never know how just taking an individual forward in time with a marriage can cascade into another large branch of the ancestry tree.
When we get rather close to the year, we can potentially skip people who are too young to have offspring that would fit the desired year. We can always come back and flesh out the tree later, once our goal is in sight. Our tree begins to appear like a sound wave, moving back and forth between the target eras we are looking for. When we find someone who meets the time period but does not align with the correct surname it becomes essential to determine that they may not have remarried and may actually fit perfectly.
So far on my tree of five hundred I only had one family locate themselves in the Texas region, so I am hoping I can get more as that one did not seem to fit into the correct time period we were focused on. This is hardly the type of genealogy most people embrace. Usually there is a lot of focus on an individual, and how their lives really impacted the people around them. Unfortunately that luxury is not one we can spend much time on as it would extend a search by more years than most of my adoptees have left to look for their birth relatives.
Sobering as that might sound, there is plenty of time to appreciate the finer things in our trees once the goal is attained. Those I work with would be happy to have that problem.