Friday, March 4, 2016

Genealogy Do-Over - Month 2

The topics for Month 2 of the Genealogy Do-Over are:

  • Establishing Base Practices and Guidelinnes
  • Setting Research Goals

Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines

ThIs has been a weakness in the past, and lead to lots of rework and sloppily performed research, so I spent some time think about these.  While I don't yet have a documented process or flowchart to follow, I have come up with a number of new practices to follow

  1. Work and research in dedicated blocks of time with defined goals and objectives. This has been a problem in the past, where I would generally work five minutes here and there, on whatever thought crossed my mind.  No more of this - time to work smarter.
  2. Evaluate each source using Evidentia to extract all data from the source.  I'm excited about this - Evidentia looks like an incredibly useful tool and I hope it helps me with my research.
  3. Cite each source fully and in accordance with Evidence Explained 3rd Edition by Elizabeth Shown Mills.  This means when I research I have my laminated quick sheet at my side and my copy of EE nearby for more complicated citations.  It also means collecting more information at repositories on sources so the citations can be made.
  4. Making sure to keep a log of all research performed, including and especially that research that yields no results.  I hate when I realize I'm retracing my steps unnecessarily.
  5. Document filing - I've been using hanging folders, and I haven't been happy with the results, so I am switching to binders.  I'm planning to need to actually file less paper by keeping more data in digital form.  Electronic files will be filed in a file system that mirrors the binder to make finding documents easier.
These are my base practices as I have them right now.  Ideally, I want to develop process flows for research and document handling, but I need to do some more work researching to get a better idea of the flow.

Setting Research Goals

Right now, I don't have a lot of known research goals - I think that they will reveal themselves in due course. The goals I do have are:
  1. Determine the parents of Christopher McNally.  I don't really have a plan for this goal yet.  I do know that a lot of Irish resources have come on line over the past year, so those might help.  I also need to reach out to my one match on my Y-DNA test to see what he knoews.
  2. Obtain a copy of a court record in which Christopher McNally was a defendant.  On my last trip to Bedford and Blair Counties, I found an odd deed for a sheriff's sale of Christopher McNally's property in order to satisfy a judgement.  I'm planning a trip there later this year,and one thing high on my agenda is finding the related court case. 
The important thing here is that I understand how I'm going to make research goals going forward. Goals need to be well defined and achievabl. Also, a proper goal needs to be able to have a research plan developed for it, listing potential sources that might recall relavent information. 

That pretty much covers month 2 of the Do-Over. I've fallen behind on the 52 Ancestors/52 Weeks project. I'll work on getting caught up over the next month or two. Until then, keep up the search.