And a do-over.

Genealogy Do-Over Week 1 — 2-8 January 2015

Topic 1: Setting Previous Research Aside

After a 10 year break in research, I was forced into a do-over of sorts when I had to reenter all my previous research into updated software. I am not completely done with that as I am ignoring my mother’s line for the time being. I have taken up more research since I restarted but when I come across something like this: Fanny Lulu: Back from the dead (someone’s incorrect research that I grafted into my tree), I have to stop and think: If I am not going to do this slowly, methodically, and correctly, what’s the point of doing it at all?

What follows is the draft of a post I wrote in July 2014 but never posted to my blog. I wrote this after I decided to start with a brand-new, properly-sourced tree in Roots Magic.

I’ve been a little quiet on my blog lately. I have been mulling some things over. I had to take a step back and really think about what I was doing with my old and new family history research.

First and foremost, I wanted to apply the Genealogical Proof Standard [GPS] to the work I had already done and continue that practice with the new work I am doing. Secondly, I want to have most of my family research documents stored digitally. I have my old research that I need to input into my updated genealogy software. I want to take the documents and photos from my old research and put them on my computer and store copies in the cloud. And I want to add the digital files to OneNote to help me analyze what has been done and what still needs to be done.

I mentioned before that I used to have all my documents in sheet protectors in notebooks. It was simple to retrieve the documents and review them when I had a research dilemma. Putting the digital documents into OneNote notebooks in some semblance of order would take the place of papers and photos filed into physical notebooks. I should point out the documents were originally in notebooks before I thought it would be the epitome of organization to have them all residing in file folders in drawers of a filing cabinet. For my personal research purposes, I just don’t like my documents in folders in a filing cabinet. (Just one of the quirks to my being a very visual person, I guess.) I should also point out that I need there to be some structure in place when adding the digital files to OneNote otherwise it seems to me to be the digital equivalent to the pile of papers on a desk—something you have to search through. I would like to be able to go right to the document without having to run a search for it. The structure of my OneNote Notebooks was something I was in the process of putting together at the beginning of 2014.

Finally, in order to continue to apply the GPS to new research, I wanted to have a system in place where any new research conducted would follow a work flow that automatically adhered to the Genealogical Proof Standard. [We want to apply the GPS in our family history research to establish that a series of events involves the same person and to establish family relationships.] The Genealogical Proof Standard is five steps that should be followed during our research. In brief, they are:

1. Conduct a reasonably exhaustive search

2. Cite your sources (You knew that was going to be here somewhere, didn’t you?)

3. Analyze your findings

4. Resolve conflicting evidence

5. Write your conclusions (It doesn’t have to be a definitive work. Just a paragraph or even a list will do.)

My main problem is that, even though I told myself “no new research”, new documents are coming in faster than I am scrutinizing my old research against the GPS and that systematic work flow I had envisioned isn’t in place yet. So I have been sitting here in a Zen-like state contemplating just how to make this new work flow happen. (Hahaha. No, my contemplation is really not very Zen-like.)

2 Responses to Contemplating Family History

  • Priscilla Ware says:

    I rejoiced when I found your latest blog post. I was afraid you had given up!! I will be continuing to use Family Tree Maker (I never could get enthusiastic about the Family Search Family Tree where you don’t have complete control! – Fanny Lulu is a case in point.) I will continue to use Ancestry and Family Tree Maker because at this point I know them both well – both the good and bad of them. I will be using OneNote for record storage as you have taught me in those wonderful lessons. I do hope you will be adding to them in the future. This genealogy do-over combined with using OneNote is a big undertaking as I have a huge tree and a ton of paper. I think my children will be very glad I did this when they have the time to get into family history themselves – plus it will be easier to share with my nieces and nephews as well. Welcome back, I am one of your fans!!!

    • Erin says:

      Thank you, Priscilla. I have tried to email you a couple of times but my emails must not be getting through to you. I hope to address some of the comments that have been made in future posts.

      I am using both FTM and RootsMagic. My FTM tree will be my research tree — seeing what others have found and checking and double checking their sources. The search feature and shaky leaf hints are helpful for breaking down brick walls and testing my research results and conclusions. In other words, FTM and Ancestry.com are a big help in expanding my tree so I will continue to use those resources! Also my oldest daughter is an editor on my Ancestry tree so she, at least, has access to my information there as well.

I'd love to hear from you!

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A bit about me

Erin Williamson Klein
New York > Nevada
Started my research in 1993

Aside from my own family history research, I also have 2 Surname Studies: Williamson in Monroe County New York & Colebach / Colepaugh--a worldwide study & A One-Place Study of Nye County Nevada Boomtowns
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Following the GPS!
Sourced Database Statistics:
230 people in Williamson branch
15 direct ancestors
72 families total
[number] people properly sourced
[number] remaining to be sourced
[percent] completed
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Genealogy Do-Over

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