My Genealogy Do-Over is becoming an “Over-and-Over-Again!” Actually, I am re-thinking / re-framing / re-considering all my former genealogical practices. Yes, I have engaged in unbridled name collecting… Yes, I have too many un-cited sources… Yes, I have entered ‘facts’ into my genealogical database without analysis… Yes, I have entered conflicting ‘facts’ into my database without trying to resolve the conflicts Yes, I have set aside sources after extracting only one or two ‘seemingly relevant’ facts… Yes, I have followed every BSO (bright shine object) that has fallen my way… Yes, I have conducted the same online searches many times over… AND. Yes, I want my genealogy research and results to show a much high standard of attention and accomplishment!
‡ Re-Thinking / Re-Framing / Re-Considering ‡
With thanks to Thomas MacEntee and all the participants in the Genealogy Do-Over, I have been translating some learnings into commitments about my standard practices – namely:
1. I will shift from a person-focused, conclusion-centric approach to one that is source centric.
- have revised my filing system (and file naming protocol) to focus primarily on sources (and their types
- I will organize and use the piles and shelves and boxes of original family papers that have been entrusted into my care.
2. I will take the time to enter each research question / project / search in a research log. I have adapted the Excel spreadsheet log that Thomas MacEntee has graciously made available.
3. I will conduct my genealogical research in three steps / phases / sessions:
- Sources – establish research question; use a research log; search for appropriate document(s); cite each document found; scan the document(s); save the files in Dropbox
- Claims – translate / transcribe / abstract; process sources and claims in Evidentia; classify (analyze) each source, claim, and evidence
- Conclusions – resolve conflicts; write proof statements / arguments; add proven evidence to database and publish.
4. I am committed to using open source technology wherever possible.
- I have begun to use G.R.A.M.P.S. 4.1.1 (the Genealogical Research and Analysis Management Programming System), the only native Linux full genealogy software program. This requires me to learn how to use the software in a different manner from before.
- I have re-formated one of my laptops so that it is now running Linux Mint 17.1. This is the basic work station for my genealogy.
5. I will continue to use Evernote, Dropbox, and Box to store my genealogy notes and digital files.
‡ Progress (and Not So Much) ‡
- I completed my self-interview
- I gathered all the papers (from the piles and shelves and boxes) that pertain to me and I have begun processing them using the 3 step process described in #3 above.
- In lieu of interviewing other family members, I retrieved a notebook of autobiographical sketches prepared by family members for the occasion of the 50th anniversary of my wife’s parents. Some of these are quite extensive. I had not previously thought of extracting the pertinent information from these writings. I had just appended them as notes in my genealogy database. When I finished with processing my papers, I will begin to process these papers.
- I continue to read the accounts of others who have attached themselves to the Genealogy Do-Over. I am saving all the weekly assignments, as well as the tips and resources that I consider for possible use in the future.
- I have added one process step to my research – Recovery: RELAX, Take a Deep Breath; Smile; (Only When Ready) Return to My Research
I intend to complete the follow-up work on my self-interview; then, do the follow-up on the autobiographical sketches. I am well aware that this is far beyond of the scope of Week 1’s assignments. However, if I can complete what I have set out to do, I will have made a strong beginning toward transitioning my genealogy research to a whole new approach; and I will be testing out my processes, procedures, and protocols along the way. When I have completed that, I will be ready to launch into all the possibilities of Weeks 2-13.
So as each Friday arrives, I seem to fall one more week behind and I am loving it! In some fashion or form, I will compete the Do-Over at some point down the road. Until then I will continue to attend to that which has become my Week1 Do-Over-&-Over-Again…The Hurried-er I Go, The Behind-er I Get (and Loving Every Moment of it!)