Reflections on a discussion

Broadwater State School No 1250 Personal Collection

The action of the last few weeks has been in stark contrast to the relative peace of the past couple of years in which I have been able to do a little of my own family history. Developments in digitisation and DNA has meant that I wasn’t keeping up. Do we ever?

Three of us had some discussion last Friday afternoon. Sharing? A reflection of the week? Planning for next week?

I came away feeling more keenly the obligation of sharing my DNA findings with my siblings and cousins. They had indulged my curiosity by taking DNA tests with Family Tree DNA for me some four or five years ago (AncestryDNA was in recess at the time). An obligation driven by our mortality.

For the rest I have cast my research aside. A cup of coffee or two in Portland, a wander around Port Fairy, the usual decision about which road to take out of Hamilton. For once I made the right one and came across my brother at the Top Farie gate. That stop meant I reached the top of the old PR road (the road around the Pre-Emptive Right) just as the Double B milk tanker pulled out. This time the choice would be made for me. The tanker turned right at the end of the road – on its way to Mount Misery no doubt. I turned left.

There was that intensive research overseas capped off with a road trip to Hannover Cemetery and the location of the POW camps where my uncle had been during World War II. More about that trip another time.

What was our Friday discussion really about? Do I have another driver other than my mortality prioritising my research? I had completed what I could of my Visual Phasing before I went overseas. Now, a year later, there are some new, some useful and some puzzling matches to consider. Visual phasing is an enormously useful tool and is a quick reference as to where matches match. Just as my fan chart has always been useful.

Now comes the part that I have neglected in my Visual Phasing work. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing to start with. How did I do my phasing? For the most part describing the how isn’t too bad. But why did I make some decisions I did? That’s more difficult. That the wind was blowing from the south west doesn’t sort of meet the litmus test. So it has been back to the beginning and revisiting my work book.

Then there is the “what else”. This is another driver. Having my Visual Phasing file in the best condition I can for the DNA Down Under seminars in a month’s time and having my decisions captured before the next version containing DNA Painter is released.

A large part of our Friday discussion revolved around the use of clusters in our DNA analysis. It seems to me whichever way we go about analysis of some portion of our DNA matches there is considerable work involved. It’s important therefore that I’m comfortable with my choice. I think I shall have to overcome my two year old tantrums with DNAGedcom and return to Shelley Crawford’s Network Graphics. I have more control over Network Graphics than seems to be the case with clusters. Control is good. Which is probably a euphemism for wasting more time. Lots of time. The bottom line is that networks fit much better into my high level view of a family tree. Clusters seem to be a mess disguised as an orderly square.

It won’t be the last discussion we have about clusters and networks. The topic is bound to come up again in the GSV’s new DNA Genetic Genealogy Study Group held on the first Tuesday of the month.

Perhaps it is a sad thing that Happy Hours on a Friday are a thing of the past. Fridays were a time to reflect upon the successes of the week just gone. When all too often I spend Monday worrying about the week to come.