Genealogy Do-Over 2017: Part 2

I am participating in Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do-Over 2017! I have purchased the workbook and I completed the first month’s task so I’m skipping ahead to month 2 a little early!

The second task is to prepare for research by establishing procedures and goals. I took the basic procedures described in the workbook and fleshed them out to a more complete and personalized list. Here is what I came up:

  1. Track all work.
    1. Keep a research log that includes all discoveries for a family group. I am using Thomas MacEntee’s free research log as the starting point. FILL IT OUT COMPLETELY. No skipping over things to save time!
    2. Keep research notes. I do not necessarily plan to keep a search log with every variation of every search term I enter into a website, this is just unrealistic knowing myself. But I will make it a goal to end every search session with a few notes in Evernote or Word discussing the general searches I conducted, where and results of the session, including lack of results.
    3. Keep RootsMagic tree current and complete. I have been slacking off here for a long time and just putting everything on Ancestry but I need to keep an updated and complete RootsMagic tree so I can take advantage of all it’s features.
    4. Keep an updated to-do list – be specific! I still need to figure out the best place to keep this list, maybe RootsMagic or Evernote? I haven’t decided yet.
  2. Cite all sources.
    1. I need to browse my (new!) copy of Evidence Explained to familiarize myself with various citation formats. Thomas’s research log offers tempates that should help with this.
    2. Create a citation in RootsMagic (and Ancestry) for every single source obtained for a person! No slacking here!
  3. Extract all information.
    1. Save the document in the correct location with the correct file name immediately.
    2. Transcribe the document into my research log and RootsMagic
    3. Link source and image to tree and tree events immediately!! (This goes with keeping an updated tree.)
    4. Attach that document to every necessary person at the same time! (I have a bad habit of not doing this with census records and it causes me problems later.)
    5. Indicate in notes where a document raises new questions or suggests new leads, don’t expect to just remember this.
    6. Consider investing in a software that facilitates analyzing evidence. I hear all the commercials for Evidentia and it intrigues me but in a recent webinar by Thomas he listed a few more options I’d like to investigate.

Whew! That’s a lot of rule, but mainly there are 3 rules and just a lot of notes for how to accomplish them, which isn’t so bad. I think I will print this list and keep it posted on my fridge as a reminder to myself. I don’t really have a workspace in my house right now so the fridge is probably my best place to ensure I see it often!

The next task was to set goals. Obviously goals need to be specific and based on known information so they will necessarily change frequently. My initial broad goal for this redo is to start by researching my direct paternal line as far back as possible. Once I have accomplished some work on this I will return to my mother’s side. In the past I have found my mother’s side of the tree to be a little more difficult and messy to research so hopefully solidifying good practices on my paternal lines will make for good habits once I get to trickier research. Beyond this I’ll start with some small goals and tasks:

  • Verify the birthplace/date for each of my parents
  • Verify the marriage place/date for my parents
  • Verify the birthplace/date for each of my grandparents
  • Verify the marriage place/date for each of my grandparents

I’ll start there and hopefully check the first two off by simply pulling some documents from my parents’ filing cabinets!

Month 2: check!

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