Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over - Week 1

Genealogy Do-Over: Week 1

For the first week of the Genealogy Do-Over the goals were to (1) set aside our previous research, (2) begin preparations for research and (3) establish base practices and guidelines.

Here is what I am doing literally and figuratively!

I have read with interest everyone's questions, thoughts and comments regarding paper and digital files and how to set up the digital and paper files. I have looked at all the link that have been posted too. I have come to the conclusion that while my filing system is rather simple it is what has worked well for me for many years but I do see some changes that need to be made. 

When I save a digital file for a marriage, death or birth the record it looks like this: "Marriage Record for Dawn Marie Williams & Tom Kogutkiewicz 27 Mar 1998 GSO NC"; "Death Certificate for George Kenneth Rueff, Sr (1905 SDF, KY-1991 GSO, NC" and "Birth Certificate for Kenneth George Kitts 10 Oct 1980 MGM, AL". Each surname has a file in my computer and each family has their own file under their surname. This gives you an idea of how you would find my digital documents. As a former travel agent I started using airport codes as my own personal shortcut to abbreviate cities which saves me lots of time when writing notes.

My color and manila folder files are sitting in decorative baskets and/or milk crates. I have set them aside. I bought two new decorative baskets in which manila folders fit perfectly and are ready for my new files. At the end of this Do-Over I will go back through the old files and determine what else I need to keep, then I will recycle the file folders and rather than throw the paper away I will use it for scrap paper. I am going to save all documents to both my Ancestry trees as well as my genealogy software program. I also need to clean up my digital files. I will be using IDrive, Google and Drop Box.

What does prepping for research entail? 

Well for me that means I will start my day of research a clean desk. I will be off of the the computer by 5:00PM so that I can get dinner started. Having dinner with my husband is important to me because it is the only meal we have together. I will only do genealogy at night once my husband has gone to bed.

I will continue to use composition notebooks for my research. The ones that have bindings that are sewn with the black and white marbling. I have been using them for several years now. Every year when school supplies go on sale I can usually find them for 25 cents a piece so I usually by between 20 and 30 notebooks every year with none left over the following year.

I like these notebooks best because you can't remove one page without removing the corresponding page. For me, this means that if I make mistake, I can add the correction to all of my original notes and that they are all in the same place. Each notebook starts with the newest generation and I work back from there. I keep each notebook to the generations on the pedigree chart. All collateral and cluster research pertaining to these families are in each notebook as well. 

Each family also has it's own research notebook. I based my research plan on the way that I take and make notes while I am researching on the computer. I tried to incorporate the kinds of records that one would find at FamilySearch.org, Ancestry.com, BLM-GLO, Fold 3 and other online data bases that You can see the link here https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qmqqXIes0Bm_Dore0_JGtkP2feOeRleUyDMyiU0IRUY/edit?usp=sharing.

Here is a picture of my notebooks. In the picture on the left is for my Williams-Rueff families. In the middle picture is the pedigree chart for my Mom which is stapled to the inside cover along with one for my Dad as well. Family group sheets are stapled to the back inside cover as well. The picture on the right is my research log. The inside cover will have my research plan stapled to the inside cover for the first person or family I research. When I am done with this group I can move on to the next blank page and staple a new research plan for the next person in line. 

Until recently I didn't have a way to take digital records with me to a research facility. By adding pedigree charts and family group sheets to my research notebook all of my information was there. I don't think I will be changing but we will see at the end of Do-Over.

Finally, I have establish practices and guidelines that I believe are important and reflect me as the kind of genealogist I want to be and to pass on to others. Here they are:
  •  I will not assume any information without evidence and/or supporting documentation and I will not assume that information on line is completely accurate.
  • I will do my own research and not rely on the genealogy information that has been passed down as fact.
  • I will include any and all siblings, aunts, uncles, and other spouses as they are just as important to my research and will be important the further back I go.
  • I will gather as much evidence and/or supporting information as I can because one piece of information does not equal proof or evidence.
  • I will go over every document multiple times until I am sure that I have gleaned all the details no matter how small or insignificant they may seem.
  • I will track my progress daily and I will cite my sources daily.
  • I will ask for help when I need it and I will be here for others in my genealogy community should they require assistance from me.
  • I will practice Random Acts of Kindness within my genealogy community as others have done for me.
  • I will share my research and/or information with others who are researching the same families.
  • I will be consistent in recording data with both paper and digital formats.
  • I will back up my data daily (which I have already set it up for).
  • I will conduct new interviews with all family members.  
Copyright © Dawning Genealogy/Dawn M Kogutkiewicz 2014-2015, All rights reserved.   

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