Genealogy Do-Over: Month 1

This post is a summary of my plans and accomplishments for Month 1 of  my Genealogy Do-Over.  First question is:  how did I find out about the Genealogy Do-over?  As I remember (it has been 4 months now),  I knew that I needed to re-organize my genealogy files.  But, I wasn’t sure how or where to start.  The job seemed overwhelming with multiple family lines.  When I converted from Family Tree Maker to RootsMagic™ in January, 2016, I joined the RootsMagic facebook group.  Someone in that group mentioned the Do-Over and I went looking.  At last, structure and directions!

Focus for Month 1 is ‘Setting research aside’ and ‘preparing to research’ (Source: Thomas MacAntee, The Genealogy Do-over returns for 2017 ( http://www.geneabloggers.com/genealogy-month-1-january-2017 : accessed 2 Jan 2017).  You mean that I won’t actually be doing any genealogy research for awhile?  OK,  I’m in!   Goals:  organize files (digital & paper), review documents, list current research habits.

DISCLAIMER:  I adapted ideas from others.

Goal #1:  Organize files.

  1. Move scattered media files for each family tree to one location on computer.  Results:  Completed 16 Jan 2017.  Created a media folder for each family tree.  Moved media from various locations to respective media folders.   New research habit: place media item in appropriate media folder as soon as item is copied or downloaded.  Decide rule for naming  media items. Follow rule.
  2.  Color code paper files.  Results:   Purchased colored file folders in January, 2017.  Assigned color to each family tree (father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-IMG_0335law, nephew, brother-in-law).  Filing system:  direct line ancestors in colored folders; siblings, children, cousins, other non-direct line persons in manila folders with appropriately colored dots.   Completed conversion of  files for parents & parents-in-laws to new system as of today (13 April 2017).
  3.  Consistent paper trail for each family/ person.  So many choices!  I have multiple samples of family group sheets, research logs, tracking sheets, migration/ biography sheets.  Executive decision to use these forms:
    1.  5- generation pedigree.  Created from home person (father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in law) for each tree from RootsMagic.  Circled specific generation in the paper file and placed this as first page in each file.   Reason rapid identification of where this particular family fits.   Pedigree file example010
    2. Family Group Sheet: National Archives & Records Administration (NARA).  2- page (or front and back) form with space for 15 children.  Limitation:  No designated space to add compiler & date compiled.  I add this information at the bottom of the sheet.
    3.  Individual worksheet: Midwest Genealogy Center, Mid-Continent Public Library System, Missouri.  Fillable PDF.
    4. Research checklist:   Midwest Genealogy Center,Mid-Continent Public Library System, Missouri . Fillable PDF.
    5. Biographical outline:  Excerpted from The Unpuzzling Your Past Workbook, copyright 1996 by Emily Anne Croom.  Used with permission of Betterway Books, a division of F&W publications, Cincinnati, Ohio.  Check your local library for a copy of this book

Goal #2:  Review documents.  Ongoing; subject for a later post.

Goal #3:  List current research habits that need repair:

  • Following leads wherever the search takes me.   Remedy:   Set specific objective for each session.  Stop when objective met.  Repeat as needed and as time permits.
  • Following rabbit trails (aka “bright shining objects” — Thanks, Thomas MacAntee for that insight!).  Remedy:  STOP.  Go to Remedy #1.
  • Inconsistent citations/ documentation of sourcesRemedy: Use RootsMagic source citation templates. (Note: deferred for now).  Buy Evidence Explained book (done); consult EE website as needed.     Document sources immediately.
  • Relying too much on online family trees.  Also, not  transferring data/ documents to RootsMagic trees. Remedy:  Use other resources.  Transfer data/ documents as soon as possible after review, ideally before ending session.
  • Rare use of research logs.  Remedy:    Locate or design research log format.   Test use of research log.  Outcome:  Decided to use research log created by Thomas MacAntee.  Test case:  subject for another post.

Enough for today! Enjoy your weekend!

 

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