We are in the 4th week of the 13 week Genealogy Do-Over lead by Thomas MacEntee. I have found it a lot harder than I expected and for different reasons than I had anticipated. Here is my progress so far:
Week 1 – 2-8 January 2015
- Setting Previous Research Aside
- Preparing to Research
- Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines
Setting previous research aside was not so hard. I have most of my research in binders in a book shelf in my extra bedroom, so I left them there. I put all my electronic copies of my documents in a folder called “Hold Genealogy”. I started a new family tree in Legacy with just me.
Establishing base practices and guidelines was a little harder. I wanted a process that I could really follow and not fall apart. Many thanks to the people who posted their guidelines and processes that they came up with. I borrowed pretty heavily from Jenny Lanctot. (Check out her blog Are My Roots Showing?)
Here is my version:
Week 2 – 9-15 January 2015
- Setting Research Goals
- Conducting Self Interview
- Conducting Family Interviews
Definitely the worst week. I now understand why I started with my grandmother when I began researching 6 years ago. My immediate family is complicated with multiple families within. I literally don’t know some of my siblings. I had a list of 20 basic questions I did not know about my parents, their spouses and their children. Really, can I skip this part? Sometimes working with the living is harder than the dead.
I conducted the self-interview and biography. Another walk down memory lane which was probably necessary, but not fun. Hopefully, my children will appreciate it when I am gone. Did I mention I really like researching dead people better?
As far as conducting family interviews – My mother and my adoptive father have passed away, so I can’t interview them. (Everyone doing this project or genealogy in general, curses themselves for not interviewing their relatives when they were alive.) When I was in college I interviewed my parents and did a timeline of both of their lives for a Sociology class. I need to go through my boxes in the garage to see if I kept them.
I dug out my interview notes from Grandmother. Another genealogical embarrassment. Every time I am in California to see my Grandmother, I ask her questions. She is 97, so I ask her questions when we are out to dinner, in a coffee shop or whenever the time seems right and she is comfortable discussing the past. She does have a good memory for someone who is 97, but there a lot of topics she has deliberately wiped clean. My interviews are on napkins and any type of paper I have in my purse at the time. I have not been very diligent about getting all of these typed up…..urgh.
Week 3 – 16-22 January 2015
- Tracking Research
- Conducting Research
I watched Thomas MacEntee’s webinar on Legacy, which was very helpful. Until then I hadn’t been convinced to use his research log/tracking method, but afterward I could see how it could work and I could be successful. Here is a link to the research log in Week 3.
Week 4 – 23-29 January 2015
- Managing Projects and Tasks
- Tracking Searches
Ah, this is an area I am familiar with. Having been a project manager for many years, I can track a project, tasks and my searches. No, I haven’t been good about it for genealogy….but this a chance for a Do Over!
I think the biggest challenge to keeping track of your look-ups is when you really aren’t doing a research project. For example, I got a link for the NARA WWII enlistments yesterday from the NGS blog. I thought I would check it out while I had my e-mail up. I put in some information about one of my WWII ancestors and didn’t get a result, I tried another and did get a result. Did I put any of them in a research log???? No…… Because I really wasn’t working a research question.
See what I mean, it’s harder than you think. But it’s not impossible.