Language switching

Monday, November 20, 2017

2017 Goal 2.2 - half of my 7th great grandparents on paternal grandfather's side identified

So 2017 is running to an end and I have barely blogged. As I explained, it was largely due to my 3rd kid and first son being born and generally time being at a premium.

So how did I fare against my goals?
Well I can report at least one success. The research of my paternal grandfather, Emil Krchak.

The goal was to identify half of my 7th great grandparents on Emil's side of the family.
And here is where I am (number of identified Emil's ancestors, generation per line):
While I am already missing two 4th great grandparents, I managed to hit the coveted 64 7th great grandparents. Unfortunately after that, the amount on known ancestors totally plummets...

[- Forget indices. Obvious, but always a tough one.]
- It is hard to keep fighting the ever increasing number of ancestors.
- The older materials are harder to work with. No parent information even on marriage records, no house numbers, no surnames for wives...
- The instability of surnames. Unfortunately, it seems the surnames are not completely stable any longer around the 17th to 18th century transition.
- There are several surnames, that cover significant portion of a village.
- The deeper we go, the more locations we need to cover, and any move is very hard to track...

Note: these are all Hornacko parish records on actapublica, i.e. Velka nad Velickou [then "Velka"] parish pre-tolerance.

So what do I do to combat the problems above?

  1. I maintain a list of all relevant surnames, and try to memorize it well.
    It is just not feasible to go through the same parish book over and over again, with one of few surnames in mind. Going through it once, or few times, with many surnames in mind is more time efficient.
    So how many? I try to cover all known 7th great grandparent surnames. They start to repeat, so this makes it around 38 surnames currently (some unknown, some repeated, some known to be in a different parish).
  2. I maintain a pen&paper ancestral index at hand.
    Having a quick reference of my ancestors, with all relevant where & when is indispensable tool.
  3. Note down every detail.
    Only by diligent research of every bearer of the surname in the parish can you distinguish the many occurrences of multiple pairs with the same name of husband & wife. Without house numbers, you need to use the indirect information - names of godfathers, alignment of children being born with mother's death.
    Similarly, only this can help you connect your multiple time widowed ancestor wedding information as being about the same person.
  4. Patience.
    It takes time. If you are not willing to pull 5 hours of work without obtaining a single new bit of information about your actual ancestors, this approach is not for you.
  5. Work on the weddings first.
    It is best to establish the known pairs who made it too adulthood, than decorate them with children. And only at last, fill in the details from the death records.
    The best approach to timeline for me being: generation T weddings first, then generation T+1 kids, then generation T+1 weddings, then T+2 kids and last but not least generation T+2 deaths...
  6. Some more patience.
  7. Have partners, friends, grandmas or great uncles work with you.
    Unfortunately, I did not succeed in this direction much, but clearly, all of the effort above scales well with people. Get them on board.
Best of luck to anyone, who decides to go for it. You definitely find matches with the wrong parents, descendants of a kid who died at 5 days of age, etc. when you compare your well researched surname results to less systematic research of some cousins. And that feels good.
On the other hand, without the DNA to back the tree up, it is all just a shaky hypothesis.

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