I participated in the original Genealogy Do-Over class from January to March of 2015. I spent the time between March and October 2015 honing the new skills I learned but I still felt that I didn't quit have a handle on everything I learned the first time around. I wanted to be more comfortable in the new skills I had learned so in October I chose to repeat the Do-Over. Wow, the second time around was even better. I feel much more comfortable with my new & improved skills.
I would like to say thank you to Thomas MacEntee for starting this project! It has given me so much confidence, more than I ever expected. I was good at research but this class has made me a much better researcher. I have a much bigger base now upon which I can build new family trees. Though we have never met in person, Thomas, I do consider you to be one of my mentors in the genea-community but especially in the genea-blogging community. If I had not found Geneabloggers I would not have started blogging and Dawning Genealogy would still be just a dream.
I have met so many new people and my genea-community has exploded this year, more than I ever thought possible. All of you have been encouraging and supportive. I can only hope that I have given you the same in return. I know that this experience is the best thing I could have done for myself and the generations who will come after me. Now that this experience is over the next part of my journey can begin.
For those of you who are getting ready to start the Genealogy Do-Over journey, ask yourself the following questions, "What do you want from this experience?" and "What are your goals for this experience? Once you know the answers you will be able to get the most out of this experience with Thomas. Here is my advice to those who are getting ready to start the Genealogy Do-Over:
- Don't jump ahead of the schedule if you can help it.
- SLOW down, take your time because there is no reason to rush
- Ask questions, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed and/or your not sure about something.
- Don't be afraid to reach out to the wonderful genea-community that this journey has to offer.
- Enjoy this EXPERIENCE and remember to breathe.
- Tracking your research is VITAL for every genealogist!!
- Time management is a must!! I know this now more than ever.
- I now own a copy of Elizabeth Shown Mills book, Evidenced Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace and hopefully my citations will continue to improve. This is a learning process and I have had to put aside the way I was taught in school oh so many years ago and start with a clean slate.
- Evaluating the evidence - this is the process where we gather the information we have collected such as documents, books, files, images, websites and photographs. We then write up an analysis outlining our questions and determine what the next step should be.
- Research plans help us determine specific questions and will lead us to the next set of questions, in our research.
- Collateral Research and Conducting Cluster Research - using the Friends+ Associates Neighbors (F.A.N. Principle) to find elusive ancestors is both my "bright shiny object" (BSO) and my rabbit hole because I have to know what happened to everyone in the family that I work on. I now keep a small notebook beside my computer to write down info and check out the found information when I have a few minutes here or there to look and read.
- Organization is the KEY to everything in Genealogy!
- Backing up our data in the form of flash drives, cloud storage, hard drives etc. is a MUST do for every genealogist to preserve our work.
- The advancements made in DNA testing is an important tool for genealogical research. It can not only help you find other family members but other researchers who may be researching the same lines as you but also other lines in the family you may not even have yet. These DNA tests can tell you what your ethnic background, can trace only your paternal and maternal lineages too.
- Social Media, Networking and Gena-Community are vital in today's world of genealogy. Don't be afraid to ask Questions in your genea-community if you need help! Don't be afraid to try something New! I think having a mentor or two is a very important too. We as genealogists have so much more than the genealogists of those generations before us.
- Preserving and "future proofing" our genealogical research is a must. Keeping and preserving your research is going to be ongoing process as technology changes in the years to come.
- Technology is great and very helpful however for me, however I prefer to also keep pens, pencils, notebooks and paper documents too. It will take more effort and time but in the end I feel that it will make me a better researcher too. Of course, I have set a limit to what I think are the most important documents but that is a personal decision for each of us.
- Skills are vital to any genealogist and keeping them in tip top shape with continuing education courses offered in webinars, conferences, specific genealogical institutes are important.
- I Will become a certified genealogist and I have decided to use the The American Genealogical Studies program offered by the National Genealogical Society. I hope to start in March 2016. I have set a up a finish by date because I want to see how things go with the first course.