Friday, March 24, 2017

Genealogy Do-Over: Taking the Plunge

Well, I've decided to take the plunge and participate in Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy Do-Over. What is the Genealogy Do-Over? For me, it's a commitment to look at my family tree with a fresh set of eyes and re-evaluate the way I have been doing research for the past 20 or so years. 

As I've posted previously on this blog, I started my research back in 1993 or 1994 with my paternal grandmother. Although everyone I met at the genealogical library told me I should cite my sources, I did not listen. Typical teenager. 

When I was in my early twenties, I decided to finally start citing those sources. I did my own Do-Over back in 2007 or so. I started a brand new family tree file in Legacy Family Tree. I had been using FTM and started to do source citations in there, but then decided I would rather use Legacy. When I switched, I decided just to start over, since most facts were not sourced in FTM. So that was actually my first do-over.

Then in 2010, I went on a cruise with RootsMagic and decided I liked their source templates better than Legacy's. RootsMagic had the ability to create source templates. In Legacy, I could only override each citation. There was not way to change an existing template or create a new template. At that point, I transferred all my data from Legacy to RootsMagic, instead of starting over again, since it was all sourced. However, the problem was that the coding between the two programs did not create pretty source citations upon transfer. I took that opportunity to go-over (rather than do-over) my previous research and correct the source citations. That took quite awhile. And in the meantime, several new record sets came available online at FamilySearch, so I also added new source citations as I fixed my old ones in RootsMagic. I finally finished the go-over in 2013. 

Once I finished that project, I decided to once again do another go-over. I decided to start with myself and review the research I had already done. For example, I made sure I had entered source citations for all the documents I had on myself (birth certificate, baptismal certificate, etc). Then I moved onto my parents, grandparents, etc. after I finished with myself and did the same thing. Also in this go-over, I decided to fully research the siblings and other collateral relatives of my ancestors. Previously, I had mostly researched my direct ancestors. My third goal in this go-over was to get more organized with both digital and paper files. 

Even with this third do-over/go-over, I realized that I still did not like something about the way I was researching. It seemed too rushed and did not feel like I was really keeping a good log of my research. I was doing great with source citations, expanding my research to include non-direct and collateral relatives, and organizing my digital and paper files. But I still felt there was room for improvement. I had made it to my second set of 2x-great-grandparents on my paternal grandmother's side when Thomas came out with the Genealogy Do-Over project. I decided that I might need to start over again. Well...maybe not completely start over, but definitely go-over my research methods again. However, it would be another year or two before I would actually buy the Genealogy Do-Over Workbook and  think seriously about doing another go-over or do-over. I was trying to get to a good stopping point in my current go-over, and my 2x-great-grandparents had 7 children, so that took awhile.

I purchased the workbook last August at the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2016 National Conference in Springfield, Illinois. That being said, I still did not start getting serious about it until last month. I have been off work for the past 6 weeks due to my husband's medical condition, so I figured I would have plenty of time to get the do-over started. I figured it was now or never.

In my next post, I will blog about what I have been doing so far in my Genealogy Do-Over, particularly as it relates to Thomas' Month One Goals. Stay tuned!

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