After my re-entry to the blogosphere in February, it wasn’t long before I came across the Genealogy Do Over. The initial read-thru told me it was something I probably needed to do — at some point. After all, I needed to set up my blog, write some posts, resume my research . . . Yet, whenever I opened the (RSS) Reader, there was a blogger talking about the Do-Over. Well guess who’s sporting the big red button this week? And I’m “all in” — for the most part — which means I’ll reserve the “modified” approach for only a few of the assignments.
Do-Over Creator Thomas MacEntee gives bloggers a wide berth to review and refine their research strategies. The main objective of the 13-week project is “to improve genealogy research skills.” My first encounter with the Do-Over was during about Week 3 of Cycle 1. I thought about just digging in and, either trying to catch up or resolving myself to being three weeks behind. The first option was self-defeating. The latter would have left me with no peer support because my focus would not have been on the current assignment. I finally resolved to focus on launching my blog and pacing myself through the Do-Over later. And I’m so glad I waited. So this is Week 1 of Cycle 2. And I’m rarin’ to go.
Thomas has developed the following starting points which set the tone for the remainder of the project. The format is simple. For each focus area, he states:
- What he’s doing
- Suggestions for the “all-in” participant
- Suggestions for the “modified” participant
Focus of Week 1, Cycle 2
Setting Previous Research Aside: (All-In) I’ve begun to use Evidentia; so this is a given. What I’ve gathered so far is no one should be added to a pedigree chart until Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) is established. I’ll leave my current Legacy Family Tree (LFT) database intact and create a fresh one that’s based solely on GPS. I’m sure all of my entries can, at least, be found on a census form. And I have vital records for many of them. So, I’m really expecting my new database to be a close replica of the original.
- Binders, folders and papers: My vital records are already secured in a binder and encased in archival-quality sheet protectors. The original naming conventions I set up for them are still relevant. I also have separate binders for pedigree charts and family group sheets — both of which I’m constantly rummaging through; so they could stand some work. But I’ll set them aside for now.
- Reserving specific items: I’ve finally gotten around to scanning my vital records. This means Evidentia will work better for me. Things are already falling into place; because then they will be added to my . . .
- Digital holdings: I didn’t realize the big part Evidentia would play in this stage of the project. Most of my census and other records are already digitized. Photos are already in folders according to my patriarchal and matriarchal lines. I’ll leave them where they are in case I need them for a blog post. But I will create a holding folder specifically earmarked for the Do Over. That will ensure that the other files are off-limits for the duration of the project.
Preparing to Research: (Modified) Because I work during the day, sometimes my research is done at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. The main thing I want to do here is leave off in a way that makes it easy to resume. That means developing a solid Research Log and To Do List for each ancestor. I have an analog one that worked well. But digital will enable me to access my data whenever I need it. I know both are available as reports in Legacy Family Tree. I just have to determine if the features I want are available. I’m already using Evernote for Genealogy.
I’ve come up with a name for my “must have” items: E3 for Evernote, Evidence Explained, and Evidentia. I don’t have Evidence Explained yet. But I will have it soon.
Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines: (All-In) This, as my former pastor says, is where the rubber meets the road. Honestly, my outline of procedures and best practices may carry over and demand part of my focus for the next assignment. But I’m sure I can come up with at least five solid procedures that I can incorporate over the 13-week period of the project.
- Incorporate GPS principles into research procedure.
- Document each new item of evidence before it is added to my LFT database.
- Strive for proficiency at citing sources until it becomes second nature.
- Become more proficient at attribution before sharing photos and/or documents.
- To be determined (it has to be something that will not be improvised).
Okay — now it’s back to learning Evidentia. I may as well make my GDO posts into a series. Just look for the feature image on the *Front Page with the updated week number.