Tracing and retracing steps

Many searches I am working on have required turning back the pages to reassert more accuracy in the genealogy.  I am constantly going to my DNA relatives list to compare surnames that appear as I wander back and forth over a particular branch of a tree. If I ponder at a branch and the cousins surnames upon it are all showing up as distant relatives, I will turn about and look down another branch.

It is not as if everyone has had an autosomal DNA test, but when you are facing hundreds of individuals out in a branch with particular attention to their detailed documentation one will take advantage of anything that might save time. Time is in short supply for some of the adoptees I am working with. Many have waited a lifetime to start their search. While I have learned the hard way not to be too hasty with decisions and weakly documented leads, I have also tried to be prudent with too much effort on a branch that appears to have no genetic relatives to help me backup a claim.

The non-identifying information the adoptees have shared help guide me. Even when we both suspect the truth was stretched with whatever rumors or documentation they have been given, I will still try and use geography to guide my genealogy. If the birth parent went west, then so should the path of children or grandchildren trend in that direction. Otherwise, again, time is eaten and progress cannot be weighed in to justifying the effort.

Some searches are like puzzles. Some puzzles have only and handful of pieces that can determine the outcome. However, on other occasions the puzzles are made of thousands of pieces. Sometimes there is an accurate picture to guide us to assemble a puzzle for an adoptee. While other times it is as if the picture changes slightly as I turn back to look for guidance.

This may all sound far too academic or abstract with imagery and analogies, but when each step upon a path only unfolds as you place each flagstone on the road, it cannot really be understood or explained in simple terms to those who will occasionally glance upon it and ask you for clarity.

In the past three weeks I have worked upon the genealogy of people from Puerto Rico, Italy, Hungary, and North America; dating back to travels across the Oregon Trail. Each is wholly unique and headed in the direction of birth relatives yet to be unearthed. So whether or not my efforts tonight yield another additional genetic relative the morning after, someone, somewhere, wonders if there will be any news to share with them sooner, rather than later.