This post is not about how to complete a family tree to determine how you and a DNA match are genealogically related. This post is about documenting that process in your research notes.
Researchers often look at a specific DNA match to their DNA test because they have an idea of how that person is related to them–even if it is a broad idea of the connection. That connection is usually what caused them to look at the person’s tree in the first place.
That should be in your notes on that match:
This match is probably related to me on great-grandpa Trautvetter because we share some of those people.
It should also be made clear who great-grandpa Trautvetter is–in my case that’s George Trautvetter (1869-1934).
Because chances are if I suspect that the person is related to me through that great-grandfather I am going to look at their tree and research their tree with that in mind. There may be parts of the tree that I ignore for one reason for another–and those reasons may be very valid.
Did not look at ancestry of great-grandmother Heloise Fromenglandham since she was born in County Suffolk, England.
Did not look at ancestry of great-grandfather Sean O’Imirish since he was from County Cork, Ireland.
For matches to my ethnic German great-grandfather Trautvetter these exclusions make sense based upon what I now know about his ancestry. It is not possible to research every tree back as far as possible. But if we look to certain parts of the tree first or look away from certain parts of the tree we should indicate in our notes that we have done that. It does not take long to write up these reasons.