Sunday, April 5, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over - Cycle 2: Wash, Rinse, and Repeat

way to start your genealogy research over.
At the same time,  you will learn how to build a solid
family tree with good, strong roots.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The last time I posted about my progress in the Genealogy Do-Over was back on February 28, 2015. I had just completed Week 4, and was getting ready to commence with Week 5.  This was about the time that we were in research mode, utilizing the tools that we had set up in the first three weeks.  I found that it's one thing to visualize your workflow and set up tools to aid you in your research and something totally different when you go to actually use them.  While everything worked pretty good, I found that some weren't working smoothly and were time suckers.  So I stopped researching and started tweaking everything.  Tried out those fixes, and tweaked again.  Wash, Rinse, and Repeat

So before I knew it, the 13 weeks were up, and it was over.  It wasn't long after I started this journey back in January, that I knew this Do-Over would take me longer than the 13 weeks prescribed by Thomas MacEntee, and I was perfectly okay with that.  As of Friday, April 3, 2015, Thomas started this process all over again.  Like me, he must be a glutton for punishment.  Signed up for this second cycle are those that lurked during the first go-round, those that participated and finished, and then there are those like me, who got behind but plodded along at their own speed.  Nothing has changed, it's the same topics as before, but now I think I'm a little wiser and am more aware of my shortcomings and where I need more work.  While the first four weeks should be a bit easier for me as those are the weeks that I've completed, it will be the other nine weeks that will present more of a challenge for me, but I think I'm up for the task.  My main goal this go-round is to stay on schedule, and to try and work on this at least one hour a night.  During the weekends, I can spend as much time as I want on this.  It's during the work week that is a challenge for me because of my schedule.  We will see how it goes.

So what's up for this first week of Cycle 2?  The same topics from Cycle 1:  1) Setting Previous Research Aside, 2) Preparing to Research, and 3) Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines.  If interested, you can read my post detailing what I did regarding these topics in Cycle 1.

Here is my plan for Week 1 of Cycle 2:

Set Previous Research Aside

On the first go-round of the Do-Over, I put all of my spiral notebooks and loose papers in a nightstand drawer that I have next to my computer desk.  I was hoping that out-of-sight-out-of-mind would work, and it did.  I didn't touch anything in there.

Then I tackled my electronic files.  I started working on my genealogy in April 2010, so almost everything I have is electronic.  I renamed my Genealogy folder to Genealogy Do-Over Hold File. I then created a new folder called Genealogy 2015 and created the following subfolders - !Surnames, Forms, Genealogy Do-Over Group Files, and Subfolder Master File.  I didn't move over any documents/files from my newly created Hold File.  I was truly going to start over with a total blank canvas to work from.

I also started a new database in Family Tree Maker and Evidentia, as well as creating new notebooks in Microsoft OneNote.

Prepare to Research

This time, I created some additional folders in my Genealogy 2015 folder, and they include: Calculators, Maps, Publications, and Research Tools.  Then I went into my Hold File, and moved over some files.  As I did this, I realized there were some things that I had more than one copy of.  Lots of duplicates and even some triplicates.  Below is a snapshot of my Genealogy 2015 folder along with the subfolders I've created so far.

Click to view full-sized image.
Since I'll be spending the majority of my time in my surname folder, I used the exclamation point as the first character of the folder name so that it is always at the top of the list of folders. As for how I have my surname folder set up, I'm starting with my four grandparents.

Click to view full-sized image.
You will notice that in front of each surname I have the following:  01_, 20_, 40_, and 60_.  I did this so they wouldn't sort alphabetically, but instead they sort in the order of my father's paternal and maternal lines and my mother's paternal and maternal lines.  I also colored the folders:  Blue for my father's paternal line, Green for my father's maternal line, Red for my mother's paternal line, and Yellow for my mother's maternal line.  As I continue on to my great grandparents, I can keep the different lines grouped together.  For example, my father's paternal line folders will be named:  01_Lusby, 02_Dameron, 03_Self and they will all have blue folders.  I'm hoping that having 01 - 19 will be enough for my paternal line.  I can always adjust the numbers as I need them, but will cross that bridge when I get to it.

With my paper and electronic files taken care of, I moved onto the two databases that I use in my research.  I have been using Family Tree Maker since 2012 and I'm not changing it.  I upgraded to the 2014 version when it came out.  I like the software and am quite comfortable using it.  I know I'm not using it to it's fullest capabilities, but that is something I can work on.  My original tree is synched to my Ancestry account and is a public tree.  I'll be keeping that tree up for now, and will use the information I have in it as clues for my new tree.  I created a new tree and named it LusbySporie Family Tree 2015.  The only people in that tree are myself, my parents (and sister), and my four grandparents.  It's a private tree right now, and I have it synched with Ancestry also.  Eventually it will be a public tree and will replace my original tree.

The other database that I use is Evidentia.  I've had the software for a while now, but only started to serious use it when I attempted my own version of the Genealogy Do-Over late last year with very little success.I haven't used used it very much as I'm still learning how best to use it.  This is a nifty piece of software, and it helps me tremendously in analyzing my records and creating solid citations (which is a major weakness of mine).  I started a new Evidentia database and called it Lusby_Sporie 2015.  I kept the old database as a reference.

I have used EverNote in the past.  I mainly used it as a catch-all for my genealogy and to track my research.  I was mostly unsuccessful as it just didn't work the same way as my brain does.  I will keep it, but use it to clip genealogy related information when I'm away from my desktop and on my phone/tablet.  Then I can access the information at home.  So I cleaned out all my Evernote files so that I could start with a blank slate.

Other than my FTM database, the other main piece of software that I'm using is Microsoft OneNote. I am using this software for my research plan and log.  I closed all my previous notebooks, and started over with all new notebooks.  This part required a lot tweaking as it's one things to set it up and another to actually use it and hope it works as you planned.  For the most part it did, but there were some things that weren't very efficient and required some rethinking.  Hence part of the reason I never advanced past Week 4 of the first Do-Over.

Establish Base Practices and Guidelines

These haven't changed from when I initially started back in January.

  1. Start with my direct line, and work on one ancestor at a time within each generation (i.e. finish with the grandparents before moving onto the great grandparents).
  2. Don't just collect data on my ancestors.  Get a feel for where they lived, what was going on at the time they were living.  Put them in historical context.  Help them to come alive.
  3. Do an exhaustive search...look into every nook and cranny I can think of to find information that will help me get to know my ancestors.  This includes both online and offline.
  4. Keep a research plan/log for ever ancestor.  Use a detailed research plan for my brick walls.
  5. Be consistent in the naming of my digital files and photos.  Use meta tags.
  6. Complete citations, using Evidence Explained, at the time I save the source record.
  7. No person will be added to my Family Tree Maker Database until I have proven they are my ancestor. This will also apply when I start researching my collateral ancestors.

So there you have it...what I did before and a few of the tweaks I made for this second cycle.  Please let me know if you have any questions or want some clarification.  I'm more than willing to help.  I remember when I first did this.  I was feeling very overwhelmed and had a lot of questions.  I also wasn't sure on how successful I'd actually be.  I just kept plodding along at my own pace, and will keep repeating this process until I have it the way I want it and it works for me.

Just remember, this process isn't a race to see who gets to the finish line first.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi There. Thanks for visiting. I enjoy and appreciate your comments.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...