Ancestry.com has been a blessing. I have spent countless hours walking cemeteries, hanging out in courthouses going through records, and a lot of money on travel for research. Now from the comfort of my home and at a fraction of the cost, I have most of the research I need at my fingertips.
One of the biggest problems I have with Ancestry is that I am like a kid in a candy store using the platform. I can pull vast amounts of data into a tree within minutes. I forget to actually go back and look at the records to make sure they are correct. There is just so much data.
I have since begun the process of deconstructing my 12,000 person database. I am splitting up the various family lines. Instead of going bottom-up in my research. I am starting from the oldest known progenitor in a family line and working my way down. This actually pulls in more cousins. I also want to start DNA documentation.
I have had my DNA tested via Ancestry because I was at a dead end with my paternal family line. My father was adopted as a Cox and never knew his real father or his original given name. He just knew his biological father was a McGriff. His mother had his original birth certificate closed by court order and a new birth certificate was made with his adoptive father’s last name. He tried to get the original birth certificate, but the courts no longer had the record.
We knew the surname was McGriff, but that was it. I found a McGriff online with my father’s name and the photo of him resembled my father, but I could not prove the connection. When I did my DNA test it came back linking me to Uncle I did not know I had. It happened that I was on the correct trail. He was a McGriff and had put a lot of family research up on his father, who just so happened to be my father’s father – my grandfather. Regardless of the skeletons in the closet, we now made a connection and my grandfather had 4 wives and many children.
This discovery made a big bump in my family tree, to say the least. All my previous Cox information was totally incorrect as I was not paying attention to what the records I pulled into my tree were telling me. The DNA test pointed me in the true direction. This is why I needed to slow down and actually sift through all the records that are being thrown at me with Ancestry. I am focusing a bit more on the DNA connections.
Breaking up family lines into separate datasets has its plusses and minuses. The minuses are that some data will be duplicated as families tend to intermarry. I also will not be the central character in the research. The big plus of focusing on family lines is that it allows me to focus on chunks of data to sift through instead of being overwhelmed by lots of data I need to sift through. Duplication of data I can deal with. I can easily pull in duplicate data across various family trees in Ancestry as well as manipulate the data in my own computer program.