Friday, February 5, 2016

Genealogy Do-Over : Month 1

For 2016, I decided to participate in the revamped twelve month Genealogy Do-Over as presented in the "Genealogy Do-Over Workbook" by Thomas MacEntee (link opens to, provided for convenience, I am not an Amazon affiliate nor do I receive any consideration or compensation for providing the link).   My genealogy was (still is) in a bad state and starting from scratch seemed as good a way to proceed as any.  Thus, my personal excursion into the Genealogy Do-Over.

Month 1 of the Genealogy Do-Over has a two point to-do list:
  • Setting Previous Research Aside
  • Preparing to Research
I'll address each of  these in turn.

Setting Previous Research Aside 

My research is a mess.  I've been researching my family history for nearly 20 years, not always with the best practices.  Add in a half dozen or so moves (including 2 in the last 5 years), and inconsistent office space to work in a few locations (and 2 kids) and you end up with chaos. At one time, my research was carefully stored in well sorted and organized hanging folders, but no longer.  Before I started this is what my research looked like:

File boxes and paper boxes, mostly unsorted and completely chaotic shoved into the closet, out of sight.

So, I sorted through the boxes, making eight piles, two per grandparent of my children, one pile for papers to be stored away and one pile for those documents that were either obtained as the result of requests for documents or obtained on trips (those documents in which either significant time and/or money have been expended upon).  The stored away boxes went back into the closet and the retained documents have been neatly stored under my genealogy desk.

Preparing to Research

The second item on the to-do list is to create a list of current research habits, the processes that you use and so forth, then determine what from that list works and doesn't and what changes you might make.  The biggest issue I've had for the last few years is that I really haven't had any processes or research habits that I consistent apply.  Rather, I'd steal the odd 15 minutes here and there to research when the opportunity presented it, not really with any plan or organization.  This lead to poorly documented work, unnecessary rework and general chaos.  This doesn't work and needs to change, and will be dealt with in Month 2.

A good start to the program, I think.  More on this in late February or early March.

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