Monday, April 6, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over Cycle 2: Week 1

Although I have been working on my family tree since the 1980s, I made many mistakes in those early years. I didn't always cite my sources, and when I did, they weren't always done correctly. I've decided to join Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy Do-Over. I won't be doing everything on his do-over list; it's more of a go-over, but it will give me the time to slow down and go over everything from the beginning.

So here goes:

Week 1 of the Genealogy Do-Over is about 1) Setting Previous Research Aside, 2) Preparing to Research, and 3) Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines.

Setting Research Aside

  • Rather than setting aside all of my previous research, I have been organizing my files, both the digital and the paper. I chose an image/document naming format and began changing all images previously saved to the new format. My format is LAST NAME_First Name_What it is_Year_Place.  The majority have been converted, but I still have a few more to work on. I also purchased binders, archival quality sheet protectors (a lot of them) and tabs. I have been working on sorting through all of the old handwritten notes and putting them in a basket to look at later when the Go-Over is completed. 
  • Since I am not doing a complete Do-Over, I needed a way to keep track of when I had checked all the facts for an ancestor, so I added a GoOver section in my FTM 2012. This allows me to add the date everything has been verified.

  • I then created binders for each of my four grandparents lines and began putting all of the printed family group sheets and information in the appropriate binder. All of the birth, death, and marriage records that I have purchased over the years have been put into one binder for future review.

Preparing to Research 
  • TIME! - Make sure I have the time needed to begin the research. This will keep me from rushing the process.
  • My research spreadsheet needs to be open, so I can input any additional research that needs to be done in the future. This will keep me from getting sidetracked with all of the BSO's!
  • A copy of Elizabeth Shown Mills "Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace" must be beside me, so I can make sure to cite my sources correctly.
  • A copy of Thomas W. Jones' "Mastering Genealogical Proof" will be readily available. 
  • Notepad and pencil

Establishing Best Practices and Guidelines

What I gained from this week's assignment was that I really needed to slow down. As a teacher, I usually only have the summer to devote to extensive research, so I tried to make the most of my time during those three months. This, along with other inexperienced research methods, left my family tree in somewhat of a mess. I vow to take as much time as I need to research, track my work, and to analyze each bit of information and only add new information to my software when I am certain it belongs there.