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.
- 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.
- 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-law, 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).
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Individual worksheet: Midwest Genealogy Center, Mid-Continent Public Library System, Missouri. Fillable PDF.
- Research checklist: Midwest Genealogy Center,Mid-Continent Public Library System, Missouri . Fillable PDF.
- 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 sources. Remedy: 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!