Earlier this year I took the leap into the big wide world of genetic genealogy by ordering my DNA test from Ancestry.com. It has opened up so many new connections for me!
Some people to DNA testing to learn their ethnicity, which was not even on my radar when I tested. I already knew my heritage many generations back. So there really were no surprises in that regard.
As I very much expected, according to Ancestry DNA, I'm a VERY white bread girl:
But what HAS been a surprise to me is how many cousins I have that I never knew of. There are over 80 people who have tested who are somewhere between 4th and 6th cousins to me. I've been reaching out to some of them through email and have found photos I had never seen before of my my great grandparents on my mother's side and am just now finding new connections on my Pendley side. WOW.
So far I have not been able to go any further BACK in my Pendley family tree than what I already knew for sure:
But what I HAVE been able to do is fill in family members for many of the descendants of Jesse and Mary Ann Gravitt Pendley.
I've been painstakingly verifying names and dates of their grandchildren and great grandchildren using census records, social security death indexes, Find-a-Grave, marriage records and other things I can find using Ancestry.com
The tricky part for me now is knowing where to quit. Sometimes I tap into a vein of lovely old photographs, documents, and all sorts of fabulous records on the family of the SPOUSE of one of these descendants. Clearly, these are not my relatives. But they are related to my relatives by marriage...and I can't stand the idea of all those great records being inaccessible to any of the family. So I will often "Connect " the ancestry record to the FamilySearch record to make sure the family groups in FS are as complete and accurate as possible. It is all too easy to get going down a rabbit hole doing that, as worthwhile as it may be.
So then I go BACK to my original task of completing the descendant list on the PENDLEY family, trying hard to maintain my focus. In the process I'm "meeting" many fine and interesting people.
I've added literally dozens of family members and have more yet to go. This process is my passion, learning all I can about all the looping layers of extended family over the generations.
While it is the family of Frank and Jane Pendley who may be my immediate circle, all of these others who came from our common ancestor, Jesse Pendley feel just as significant to me.