14 May 2024

Follow Up on Genealogy Clues and Leads

I love when someone contacts me about my family tree. Some tell me they're getting tons of hints from my family tree. Others say their ancestor is in my tree and they're wondering how we're related.

Each contact, DNA match, and hint from another family tree is worth investigation. Find out what they have to offer to your family tree.

When a Possible Cousin Writes to You

Whenever I get these messages, I drop everything to get them the answers they're looking for. Last weekend a man in Australia contacted me, and in no time I figured out I'm related to his wife in 3 different ways. Then he mentioned he couldn't get far on his own Italian ancestors. So I sent him links to documents for his grandparents and great grandparents. I also gave him a link to my published index of all the vital records from his wife's and my ancestral hometown.

You owe it to yourself to follow up on genealogy leads. Any one could be the key to growing your family tree.
You owe it to yourself to follow up on genealogy leads. Any one could be the key to growing your family tree.

One DNA match wrote to me about the family name Capozza. I knew that name came from my 2nd great grandmother's hometown in Italy. So I began building out my match's tree within my own. With enough research, her big branch connected to me and beefed up my tree in the process. It was a worthwhile exercise. See "Let a DNA Match Guide Your Research for a While."

When You Make First Contact

I don't always wait for people to contact me. It can be a lot of fun to choose a DNA match, build their branch out, and present it to them. Plus it benefits your family tree. Of course you can do this work and still have them ghost you. That was the case with my 4th cousin once removed. I did the work and presented him his branch, but I don't know what he did with that information. He never wrote back to me.

Still another DNA match led me to dig into my 2nd great grandmother's Girardi ancestors. This match has since passed away, but she was grateful for the branch I gave her. She was going to share it with her sister-in-law, the family researcher. (See "Help Your DNA Match Expand their Family Tree.") In the end, the research helped my family tree. It had taken me a while to discover the Girardi name in my family tree. I was happy to chase down this match's family because it helped me flesh out my own.

Another time I figured out that a DNA match was my 3rd cousin. We share a set of 2nd great grandparents. I built out her family tree and sent her a link to it. She was very grateful and excited to learn more. See "Attracting a New DNA Match."

A 15% discount for readers of Fortify Your Family Tree!
A 15% discount for readers of Fortify Your Family Tree!

Other Types of Leads

Three years ago 3 different genealogy challenges fell into my lap at once. You should always think of these challenges as a way to expand your family tree. (See "Genealogy Challenge Accepted!") First, my dad noticed an Ohio obituary for a man with our last name. He asked me to figure out if this Iamarino was our relative. He was! My research shows that the man was my dad's 7th cousin. The 2 of them were born 2 years apart and had once lived in the same town. It was fun to find the answer to such a random question.

The 2nd challenge was to help an adoptee figure out her family tree. She came to me through a friend. With access to her DNA matches, I was able to identify some close cousins for her contact. The 3rd challenge was my own. Someone posted a photo on Facebook of a man who died in my grandfather's hometown back in 1974. People were saying such lovely things about this man that I wanted to find a connection to him. In the end, I placed him in my family tree as my 1st cousin 3 times removed.

Whichever DNA test you took, check out any matches with a family tree. (Not all DNA websites include people's family trees.) See what each one's tree has to offer you. Do more research than they've done, and you'll fortify your family tree.

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