A Private Tree for My DNA Results

Regular readers know that my family tree is full of relatives who are related to me in multiple ways and with relatives with whom I share relatives through connections they have with each other but do not have with me.

It’s confusing when a significant proportion of your tree came from a handful of areas and settled in one area and have lived there for nearly one hundred and fifty years. It makes the DNA matches and shared matches a twisted and tangled knot that makes seems like an infinite number of Mobius strips intertwined with each other.

To help deal with that, I have a working “tree” where that includes my known ancestors and as many of their descendants as I can reasonably locate. For some of those descendants, I have traced their “other ancestors,” ones that they do not share with me. Depending upon how the match and I are related to them, I may have traced that tree rather extensively. There may be errors in that portion of the tree and most of these families have not been researched extensively or exhaustively and some of this research has been somewhat superficial–at the risk of being perfectly honest.

Keep in mind that these people who have been researched in a somewhat superficial manner have no real bearing on my ancestry at all. These are great-great-grandparents of my third cousin on the “other side” of the family (the mother’s side who came from New England when I’m related to the father’s side from Maryland). They’ve only been traced to potentially help me with some of the shared DNA matches. Their connection to the ancestors and families I am working on is extremely tangential. These are not associates of my ancestors. These are people who lived hundreds of miles from my relatives and whose great-granddaughter eventually married a relative of mine.

That tree with all those extraneous names to use my own DNA analysis is kept private. It is not shared. It is not posted online. Why? Because I have not “worked it up” as well as I do the tree on my ancestors and their own family networks. It’s just for my own analytical work.

And because of that I keep it private–I don’t want to reproduce any errors.

But I need it because it helps me to analyze all the crazy multiple relationships in my tree.


5 thoughts on “A Private Tree for My DNA Results

  1. Linda Vincent says:

    Thank you so much for this post. It’s short but addresses exactly what I have been struggling with. There are so many people out there, genealogists among them, who criticize those of us with large trees. I have done a lot of descendant work on my mom’s side and that contributes a reasonably large amount of people. But my dad’s side comes from West Virginia where everyone marries everyone else and that part of my tree is humongous. Every time I find someone new, I realize that I already had them for some other connection and that sends me off to find another fifty or a hundred people. Having all these seemingly unrelated people is very helpful because eventually it all comes around to be that I’m related to them. So I really appreciate your comments in this post. Down with the criticizers of large trees.

    • My large tree, as indicated in the post, is one that I keep private for my own personal use–largely because there are parts of it that I am not as certain about as I would like to be. That said, as mentioned, I’ve got parts of my tree that are knots that I share with others who have shared knots of their own. Knowing about their shared knots helps me when going through my matches and it cuts down on repeated work and wasted time.

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