Sunday, January 4, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over: Week 1

Thomas MacEntee (GeneaBloggers) is starting his genealogical research over, following practices that will result in a more rigorous tome of family history research. I am following his 13-week plan, and here is my contribution for Week 1.

1. Set aside previous research

Most of my genealogy has been given to me by my family and is found on my family tree as well as what I have downloaded into RootsMagic. I have printed out my pedigrees in surname binders that also contain some original documents. I will set my family tree and binders aside and begin from scratch with myself. I will set up a new family tree (location yet to be determined) and add only the information I verify through this Do-Over. I will start a separate RootsMagic file. I will, however, keep all original documents that I have previously scanned or acquired, using them when appropriate.

2. Preparing to Research

As mentioned above, I will create a new file in RootsMagic for this research plan. I have Evidentia but only have a few documents entered.I will view some tutorials about using Evidentia, Evernote and Evernote Clipper. I plan on using Evernote for my research log. On my desk I have a copy of Evidence Explained and have a link to the Red Book on my toolbar.

3. Establishing Base Practices & Guidelines

  • Time: I am setting aside an hour on both Saturday and Sunday mornings for family history research, as well as an hour daily during vacations (I am a teacher).
  • Track all work: all of it, even if it yields no progress; if I have a record of it I know what I've done and I won't do it again! I will do this in my research log (Evernote).
  • Cite sources:  Evidence Explained -- check.
  • Make the first pass the only pass: take the time to extract all possible information from the document and put the information where it belongs--the first time.
  • Use research goals: Write a specific research question and focus on that question until completed before moving on.
Wish me luck!