Thursday, 4 February 2016

Genealogy Do-Over 2016 Month 2: Base Practices

I wasn't sure I could keep up with the Genealogy Do-Over when it was first announced because I thought it was going to be a weekly prompt.  But I was wrong!  It's monthly and here is my progress report for February.

There are 2 topics in the February list to be addressed.

1.  Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines
I jumped ahead on this, I think, when I developed and posted my Golden Rules of Genealogy back in December.  

However, I've also taken this opportunity to review the process I want to follow when I'm doing research.  To date, my research process is haphazard and follows the "scattergun" approach - I aim broadly and hope to hit something!!

After reading lots of blogs and websites about research goals, research plans, research logs, research checklists, etc, and getting totally confused for a while, I've decided on the following terms for my own sanity:
  • Research Goal - is the specific point or question I have about an ancestor that I want answered.
  • Research Plan - is the steps I will follow to discover information that will hopefully answer my Research Goal
  • Research Tracker - is the list of searches I undertake as part of the Research Plan, and the results of those searches
  • Research Checklist - is the list attached to each individual of every possible piece of information I might find to help "flesh out" the story of that individual's life.
I've also developed and written up the steps of How I do my Genealogy Research.  It may need some changes as I start to implement it, but I'll see how it goes.

2.  Setting Research Goals
This will be the focus of another post in the near future, as I begin to implement my newly-identified research process.

I wanted to follow along with the Do-Over so that I could improve my research methodology - it's already working :-)

Webinar Wednesday: The Paper-less Genealogist

Having just watched this webinar by Denise May Levenick, I think it's time to curtail the ever-increasing piles of paper that my poor overloaded printer keeps spitting out!

Ms Levenick gives a number of strategies for reducing paper in the genealogist's life, and recommends beginning with something small and doable, and building from there.

So while I certainly have loads of photos, documents and heritage items to scan, I'm going to begin by reducing what I actually print.

Unfortunately, having not grown up with digital technology, if I really need to take in what I'm reading, I need to do that from the printed page rather than the screen. For some reason, words on a screen tend to overwhelm me. Also, I can't quickly and easily highlight sections, or scribble my own notes in margins, etc. (I know it can be done, but I'm not fast at it, and trying to figure out how to do it, distracts me further from what I'm reading ...)

My plan, therefore, has a number of components:

  • I will improve my use of "screen-clippings" and screen-shots so that I can save ideas and tips and suggestions to OneNote, rather than printing them out as reminders.
  • I will improve my use of computer-based "to-do lists" - again, this is instead of printing out reminders to myself.
  • I will continue to print working documents on paper that has already been used on one side, and is destined for the recycling bin. (I get this paper from work.)

I also intend to participate in ScanFests and get my original photos and documents scanned and uploaded.  The next step will be storing them properly, but that's another step in the process :-)

Monday, 1 February 2016

January 2016 Monthly Review

So how did I go in keeping to my goals and intentions during January?

Goal #1 I'm going to resolve 5 of the 13 research questions I have about my grandfather, Alexander William de FRIEZ. I'm going to do this by spending at least 1 hour per week on the research.  These 5 questions will be resolved by 31 December 2016.

I didn't actually address this at all during January :-(

Goal #2 I'm going to resolve 3 of the 10 research questions I have about my great-uncle, Charles Frank de FRIEZ.  I'm going to do this by spending at least 1 hour per week on the research.  These 3 questions will be resolved by 31 December 2016.

While I didn't resolve any of my research questions, I have made progress. I discovered the date and the ship on which Charles Frank travelled to Australia from New Zealand.  I also discovered his name in an electoral roll for Marsden in New Zealand, which give his home address in 1957.  So this is moving forward.

Goal #3 I'm going to review and correct the source citations that I have in RootsMagic so that they are in Evidence Explained format.  I'm going to do this by tackling the records of 1 ancestor per week (per the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge) throughout 2016.  

Again, I only managed to finish 1 post in this series, which did force me to correct my sources though.  The linking of the post series with the ancestor is sound; I just need to keep up with it.

Goal #4 I'm going to participate in, and complete, the organising processes recommended through the FINALLY Get Organized! weekly checklists provided by DearMYRTLE.  I commit to making the necessary time to complete each week's activities throughout 2016.

I think I need to let go of this goal - it has proven to be too much of a distraction for me, from actually researching!  I have become bogged down in Facebook posts and emails and blog posts about the "perfect" system of organisation. And I have experienced a kind of paralysis about it.  I think it's been worthwhile because I have re-arranged my digital files, and have decided on a system to corral all the bits of paper I collect about each person.  But I don't want to be sidetracked by this any longer.

Goal #5 I'm going to photograph, upload, and transcribe all the headstones in the Presbyterian and Methodist Sections of Mount Bassett Cemetery for  I'm going to visit the cemetery once each month, take approx 100 photos, and upload and transcribe them before my next visit.  This work will be completed by 31 December 2016. 

No progress at all.

So, I'm going to let go of Goal 4 altogether and instead focus on researching and writing my family history - which is what I want to do.

Look forward to a more productive February :-)