Social Media is just another tool in the genealogy tool box. Like all tools, it’s important to know when to use them and when they will be a black hole for your precious time. Thomas MacEntee suggests various sites e.g. Facebook pages, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter. I currently follow “The Organized Genealogist”, but didn’t know about “Cite Your Sources” on Facebook. I will be definitely be adding that one to my groups. I use Pinterest, but for recipes mostly. I still haven’t found a compelling reason to use Twitter. I use LinkedIn for my professional life, but rarely for my genealogy life….something to think about. So the one thing that I haven’t done that has potential, is to automatically post my blogs on Facebook. I guess I am kind of shy about different parts of my life overlapping, but maybe I need to rethink the importance of broadening my exposure.
Building a Research Network
This is about not doing all your research by yourself. You must find a tribe to hang out with to share best practices, ideas, resources and the joy of discovery. This has been incredibly important for my growth as a genealogist. I have learned so much from my peers at the UW Genealogy program, many of whom I still keep in touch with 6 years later. I also have been fortunate to have made friends with fellow genealogists through seminars, conferences and our blogs. The benefits of following good blogs, is you often learn about a tool, a resource or an approach you haven’t thought about before and bloggers are very generous about answering questions (many thanks to Michele Simmons Lewis, Diane Boumenot and Jill Morelli for their insights over the years.) Joining genealogy groups such as Transitional Genealogists or APG can be very helpful if you have a question about a specific source, need a genealogist in another location etc.
This section is about guidelines for sharing research between genealogists 1) be nice 2) always remember attribution 3) share (but be smart about it) and 4) monitor your own work to make sure it isn’t being plagiarized. Thomas MacEntee suggests that you mark any public trees you have that are not sourced as “unsourced”.
Reviewing Research Travel Options
Travel? Genealogy? You had me at hello! I love this one that combines two of my favorite pastimes -genealogy and travel. Every year, I try to plan at least two genealogy vacations. Sometimes they are around a conference/seminar and sometimes it’s a destination location where I can access original sources and see where my ancestors lived – its even better if it’s both! Thomas MacEntee suggests reviewing organized genealogy trips by NGS, American Ancestors, FGS and Family Tree that take genealogists to various research destinations – Washington D.C., Salt Lake City, Allen County Library, England, Northern Ireland etc. I think for the most part I prefer traveling on my own with my friends, but I would consider an organized trip to Northern Ireland or Germany where I might get consultative help on unfamiliar records and/or that are in a different language. I am going to watch the free webinar “Family History Trippin” by Thomas to make sure I am using technology that might help in future trips.
Securing Research Data
Haven’t we done this already? It feels a bit redundant. But, as always I keep finding gaps in areas that I thought were solved. My back up device for my Mac laptop seems to have failed and that reminded me that I don’t have my pictures on my Mac backed up in the cloud like I thought I did. Urgh…so my system is not fully in place. Also, I should probably send my children backup cd’s of all the family pictures. I don’t have an inventory of all my research. Estate Planning? No haven’t done that either. There is much more work to do here. Guess it wasn’t redundant after all.
Reviewing the Journey
I have learned much on the Genealogy Do Over. By stepping back and reevaluating my whole research process, I have discovered new ways of doing things and have re-establishing good habits that I had strayed away from. It has re-energized my genealogy and I have integrated many of the lessons into my everyday practice. Some people are jumping right back in to the “Do Over”, but I will wait and do another cycle “Genealogy Do Over” in 2016 to continue my process improvement. I need to see what works long term and what adjustments need to be made for efficiency, accuracy and better genealogy over all.
I would encourage anyone who hasn’t gone through the “Genealogy Do Over” to give it a try. You will be surprised at how much you will learn, no matter how many years you have been doing it.