Monday, April 6, 2015

The Genealogy Do-Over: The Best Thing I Did for my Genealogy

Last week I wrote a post about what I learned in the Genealogy Do-Over, see that post here, ( Over the weekend I was reading the posts on Facebook and seeing how overwhelmed many of the newcomers felt. I would like to tell you about my experience and why I consider the Genealogy Do-Over the best thing I ever did.

Using library books and buying several helpful genealogy books I taught myself how to do genealogy. I used the research and writing skills I learned in high school and college to help me as well. I've been active in genealogy for 35 years, more than half my life. Then about four years ago I discovered Legacy Family Tree Webinars. I was like a sponge and my first webinar was Google for Genealogists by Thomas MacEntee.

Last year I started blogging about my family and my research. I had already started my own approach to a Do-Over when Thomas announced he would be creating a group on Facebook specifically for his concept of a Genealogy Do-Over. So I put mine on hold and joined his group, it was the best decision I have ever made!

With the guidance of Thomas's weekly syllabi, I began with myself and worked backwards. I am starting with my direct line only and I am back to my 3rd great-grandparents. I can honestly tell you that the hardest thing for me to do throughout this journey was setting aside my research and trying to use a spreadsheet for a research log! I am still trying to use that spreadsheet but I like my paper log better, (sigh). Another thing I realized was that I was already using some good techniques I just didn't know they had official names such as cluster and collateral research.

I know that this experience is the best thing I could have done not only for myself but for  my research and the generations who will come after me and say, "Wow, Dawn, knew her stuff!". I have been thinking of becoming a certified genealogist for the better part of a year now. This experience has shown me that I am ready to proceed to the next step in achieving that goal.

Ask yourself the following questions, (1) what do you want from this experience and (2) what are your goals for this experience. Once you know the answers you will be able to get the most out of the Genealogy Do-Over experience with Thomas!   

To those of you who are now starting your Do-Over journey with Thomas my advice to you would be:

  1. Don't jump ahead of the schedule if you can help it.
  2. SLOW down, take your time because there is no reason to rush
  3. Ask questions, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed and/or your not sure about something.
  4. Don't be afraid to reach out to the wonderful genea-community that this journey has to offer. 
  5. Enjoy this EXPERIENCE and remember to breathe.
Please feel free to look over my posts regarding the Genealogy Do-Over ( and if you need a help or someone to bounce ideas off of you can message me on Facebook or send an email to me at

Copyright © Dawning Genealogy/Dawn M Kogutkiewicz 2014-2015, All rights reserved.  


  1. Thanks for this great post and encouragement and info Dawn, can't wait to read more of this blog. Cheers Vicki from South Australia

    1. You are welcome, Vicki! I hope you enjoy your Genealogy Do-Over!