Week 7 and 8 haven’t been too bad as I made some changes in 2014 related to the topics.
Reviewing Genealogy Database Software
Like many genealogists, I have gone through many different genealogy programs. Our needs change as we develop our abilities as genealogists and as new products come out to meet the demands of the community. I have used Reunion, Family Tree, RootsMagic and most recently Legacy. I am currently using Legacy because it most closely meets my citation citing process and requirements, but choosing a program is a personal decision that everyone must analyze for themselves.
On-Line Trees – well this always sparks a huge debate on message boards as genealogists try to protect the integrity of their data. Being a relatively “new” genealogist, I started my genealogy search on Ancestry.com. I am admitting my sins of the past – I have an old tree that has errors on it from accepting hints that at the time seemed accurate and have since been proven wrong with research. I have been steadily cleaning my own tree up, but I haven’t even tried to correct others who have the same errors unless I am contacted about that line. I made the decision to stay on Ancestry, because I have connected with so many “cousins” that have provided photos and details about our family. I can’t imagine cutting off that line of potential communication and I remain ever hopeful that someone will help with some of my brick walls.
Digitizing Photos and Documents
When I found out that I was going to move across the country last summer, I was filled with dread about my bad digitizing habits. I realized that I was going to have to send all my genealogy research on a moving truck and hope that it didn’t get lost or in an accident. No way was I going to lose years worth of documents I had tracked down traveling to archives, libraries and courthouses…not to mention all my family photos! I quickly went out and bought HP Officejet 7612 scanner/copier/printer that could also scan 11 X 17. Best buy ever! I copied all my original records that I couldn’t get on-line, stored them on computer, back-up drive and Dropbox. I was a little better off with photos, since I have been a long time scrapbooker and had digitized most of my photos. Though now I see that the standard is to put them in 600 dpi TIFF files. Guess I have another project to convert the jpg’s to tiff’s… The good news is everything arrived in the moving truck, so I can start my scanning picture project anytime I find the time!!!
Conducting Collateral Research
Tom MacEntee’s definition of collateral research is: “A search for those who are not direct line ancestors, but who are considered part of the same family. These include siblings, half-siblings, in-laws and others through marriage. Example: take time to look at the siblings of a woman’s husband or her husband’s parents and who they married, as well as their children.”
I have done collateral research on quite a few lines of my family, but I haven’t been thorough. I use the technique when I get stuck or when I become enthralled with a particular family like my Mattson Family that just keeps giving amazing documents and details. So, I will be reviewing my families again and see where my gaps are. I have some big ones for those few families that had 10+ kids. For once I am grateful for my one direct line that only had 1 child for the last 5 generations. I am not sure I will change my approach to collaterals, but I will at least highlight where I could do more in-depth work when I am in the research location.
Reviewing Offline Education Options
I feel like I really have this one handled. I belong to a quite a few genealogy organizations and attend national, regional and local events. This year I will be going to NGS in St. Charles, MO and IGHR in Birmingham, Alabama. Now that I am in Tennessee and I am centrally located to quite a few states, I have new opportunities to be able to go to conferences in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia etc. Exciting!
Good luck to those of you doing your Genealogy Do Over! Let me know how it is going for you.