Some of those "DNA cousins" have an Ancestry Member Tree, and some of them have done enough research back in time that we can find the common ancestors. AncestryDNA tells me I have 89 Shared Ancestor Hints, but those include relationships all the way back to 8th cousins.
By my estimate, I have about 140 4th cousins or closer for whom I don't know who the common ancestors are.
So I want to do some "Descendancy research" to try to find those common ancestors so that when I see an AncestryDNA match, I can contact them via an Ancestry message and compare notes.
I've been thinking about how to do this. I know that 4th cousins will have common 3rd great-grandparents, so my thought is to take each of my 3rd great-grandparents, do a Descendants chart, and find the descendants for whom I haven't done much research in my family tree. My hope is that through some extended research that I can at least identify grandparents (into the mid-20th century) of living persons who may have done an AncestryDNA test.
Here's is an example:
I identified my 32 3rd great-grandparents, and then used the "Descendants View" in RootsMagic 7 to get a list of the descendants of each 3rd great-grandparent.
I could have done a "Descendants List" report (using Reports > Lists > Descendant List) also, and printed it out. Here is an example:
Using the view or report, I can then identify families that I need to extend down to the mid-20th century if possible.
For instance, on the charts above, I can see that:
* Abigail Seaver (1817-1899) married Samuel Monroe (1810-1875) and had two sons. I need to find out if either son married and had children, and then go from there forward in time finding descendants.
* Lucinda Seaver (1821-1899) married James Rockwood Bruce (1814-1884), and had three children, but I know a spouse for only one of them.
There are more candidates on this six page descendants list, and there are 15 other sets of 3rd great-grandparents to work on after this one.
What process will I use to investigate these descendants of my third great-grandparents? There is some low hanging fruit:
1) Review and search online family trees:
* FamilySearch Family Tree - shared tree
* Ancestry Member Trees - isolated trees
* MyHeritage trees - isolated trees
* Findmypast trees - isolated trees
* WikiTree - shared tree
* WeRelate - shared tree
* Geni.com - shared tree
* RootsWeb WorldConnect - isolated trees.
Using online family trees is risky, but they can provide leads that can be confirmed by finding records in online databases. Some even provide the sources they used!
2) Search record collections on online record providers like:
* Ancestry.com - it also has Hints and Suggested Records when you look at a record. This should find Find A Grave items also.
* FamilySearch - it provides Record Hints for persons in the FamilySearch Family Tree
* MyHeritage - it provides Record Matches for persons in your tree.
* Findmypast - it provides Record Matches for persons in your tree.
* Google - search for online web pages or books that have entries for the target persons. This should find USGenWeb pages and RootsWeb message board and mailing list posts.
As I find records for these cousin families, I will add them to my RootsMagic tree, and include sources and notes as I find them.
I want to do these in an organized manner, so I am starting with my Seaver descendants and will move through my tree one set of 3rd great-grandparents at a time.
What other resources should I be using for this Descendants research? Am I on the right track? How have my readers attacked this problem?
Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver