Since starting researching my family tree in October 1998 with seven people (me, my parents, my grandparents), some 15 years ago, my genealogy file has grown considerably. Now it has reached 50,000 individuals.
To be fair, not every one of the 50,000 is a blood relative of mine. Some are cousins of my cousins, and families of those who married into my family. But everyone connects in some way, which is pretty amazing in itself. I'd estimate 35,000+ people in the file are blood related.
Over the years, as I've accumulated stories, notes, and photographs, the file size has grown considerably. It's grown so much that when I try to load my file, I've found that most family tree programs freeze up or take a really long time.
That delay in load time led me to a 100% online-only tree which lives on Ancestry.com. That tree is here. I trust their servers and just in case I back up now and then. (In fact, probably due for a backup tonight given the milestone.)
Updating via the Web is easy, and it allows me to do research in another tab or window while updating the file on the fly. In the past 15 years, that's one of the things that's changed the most -- so many genealogical records are now online. And so many are available for free too, which is great. FamilySearch.org is one of the great free sites out there, with tons of records available.
So who was the 50,000th individual? I didn't pay close enough attention, and the file is at 50,214 now, but in recent weeks I've been researching my Alsace/Lorraine ancestors and their families. So many of the French records are online now, so I've been going through them.
One family I inputted into the tree yesterday: the Dannenhoffers of Brooklyn, NY. Dannenhoffer is my gr-gr-gr-grandmother's maiden name. I figured the Dannenhoffers in Brooklyn were related, I knew about them before, and now I've made the connection.
John Louis Dannenhoffer (1871-1910) and his brother Nicholas Ludwig Dannenhoffer (1872-1916), both born in Brooklyn, founded a glassworks operation, the Williamsburg Flint Glass Works. Glassmaking was a trade the Dannenhoffer family has been involved with since the old country in France, and some of the families I'm a descendant of have been in the trade for hundreds of years. John and Nicholas are pictured below, and they're my 5th cousins, 3 times removed; both children of Jean Dannenhoffer of Rahling, Moselle, France.