Sunday, March 26, 2017

Genealogy Do-Over: Month One Goals

The goals of the first month of the Genealogy Do-Over sound pretty simple: 

1) Set previous research aside.
2) Prepare to research.

Well, some of the work I have done already is actually solid research that has been cited. Remember, I have already done about 3 do-overs or go-overs since 2007. So to set all of it aside does not make sense to me, but I did set aside previous research when I started my last go-over back in 2013. Back then, I labeled four bankers' boxes with the surnames of my four grandparents. I then filed all of my documents by surname and put the surname folders in the applicable bankers box. I still have those bankers boxes sitting in my office. 

As I was doing my go-over in 2013, I gradually pulled documents, such as birth and death certificates, out of those boxes as I went through each person in my tree, beginning with myself. I reviewed the documents, cited them in my RootsMagic file, and then filed them in folders by couple. My couple file folders are in my filing cabinet in alphabetical order by surname and are color coded. The blue folders are for my paternal grandfather's lines, green folders are for my paternal grandmother's lines, red folders are for my maternal grandfather's lines, and purple folders are for my maternal grandmother's lines. I made sure the documents were digitized as well. My digital folders are organized similar to my paper files, using Folder Marker to color code my digital file folders.

So I guess setting aside research was not that hard for me since I have already done it. But I did not bother to go back and set aside research that I had completed during my last go-over I started in 2013. What I have decided to do is to go back over my research I did during that time and look for holes. As I stated in my previous post, I felt like I was rushing through things just to get everything documented. This time around, I am taking my time. I agree with Thomas that getting ahead of ourselves is a common problem in genealogy research. The adrenaline rush of the hunt makes it really easy to get ahead and miss key details.

The second goal is a little more difficult for me. I think preparing to research is where I could have used improvement in my last go-over. I didn't do anything back in 2013 to prepare for research. I just jumped right in. Thomas suggests coming up with some warm-up exercises for research. Here is what I came up with:

  1. Clean off desk in office.
  2. Have a glass of water or beverage available.
  3. Set timer for research (1-2 hours).
  4. Open surname notebook in OneNote, which contains Research Plan/Log and To-Do List.
  5. Open Evidentia.
  6. Open RootsMagic.
  7. Have Evidence Explained available.

Since I am currently in Houston and have been here away from my desk for 6 weeks, I'm not going to get to work on #1 until I get home later this week. But I have already talked to my aunt, who is going to come to my house in a few weeks and help me get started on organizing my office. I also have plans to call the electrician to get the light fixed in my office, hopefully by the end of this week. For some reason, it won't come on ever since we put in a new A/C unit. 

Water seems to help me stay focused and do better work. At work, I typically have a glass of water at my desk. So why not have one when I do my genealogy research?  Makes perfect sense to me.

Setting a timer is important. Sometimes I spend too much time on genealogy research and then get overwhelmed and frustrated. I think one or two hours at a time will keep me more productive. 

I have decided to use OneNote to organize my research digitally. I still have my digital file folders, but I am taking things a step further to document things in OneNote. I found a great webpage called OneNote A to Z by Erin Williamson Klein. She has some great templates for organizing your genealogy research in OneNote. Every time I start my research, I will have my surname notebook opened in OneNote. Each OneNote surname notebook has a page with a research plan and a research log and a section for the to-do list. I will consult these areas of the notebook to decide how to focus my research.

I will also make sure to have Evidentia open. I really like using Evidentia to examine source documents and analyze the evidence. Sometimes I forget that I have Evidentia, so I think making sure it is open every time I start to research will help me remember to use it. I was just blowing and going through my last go-over and did not use this resource when I should have.

Last but not least, I will also have Rootsmagic open and a copy of Evidence Explained handy. I probably need to invest in some of the EE Quicksheets that have been published over the last few years. I think I will buy a digital copy of the latest version of the book as well. That book is pretty hefty to transport around to libraries. I still have the first edition in hardback.

I hope that blogging about this well help keep me accountable. Putting it in writing helps to solidify it and gives me something to look back on to stay on track.I also find the Genealogy Do-Over Group at Facebook to be beneficial. It's a great place to ask questions and collaborate with others who are doing the Do-Over as well. There are also some great resources there, such as OneNote templates, timeline spreadsheets, etc.

Stay tuned for Month 2 goals!

1 comment:

  1. I've had the book for over a year now, I think, and haven't even opened it. I really need to just so I can figure out where I am.