02 January 2016

Genealogy Do-Over 2016

Sophie Karvoius Dixon
Sophie (Karvoius) Dixon
Yes, she really said that. Often.

"If something is worth doing, it's worth doing right." - Grandma Dixon

Even as I'm working on this blog I'll be participating in the 2016 Genealogy Do-Over. This is a great program designed by Thomas McEntee to help us become better genealogists. Topics are divided into a monthly format with to-do lists.

I just started doing my genealogy research in 2015, so I don't have years of research to review. Still, I started out as a stark-raving beginner (as a former riding instructor used to call newbie equestrians) with more enthusiasm than organization. Yes, my college major was History. But apparently there are rules, or at least strong suggestions, on how to proceed with this family tree stuff. And really, I'd like to get it right the first time. Or I guess the second time, what with the do-over and all.

I'm going to try to post what I'm going to do for the assignments at the beginning of each month, and then give a little progress report at the end of the month.

Hopefully, just writing this will make me stick to it!

January Assignments and What I Plan to Do

Setting previous research aside : time to break up with the old files and research.

Aside from the few items I will use for my blog posts here, I intend to pretty much ignore the research I've done so far and start from scratch. I'm trying out some new software since Ancestry has decided to discontinue Family Tree Maker. I figured the do-over would give me a chance to learn the new software while I was reviewing all my research.

Preparing to research : This assignment is all about how you researched in the past, what worked and didn't, and making changes in time, location, tools, etc. We are to think about our past research habits and consider what changes to make. Also, we're to make a list of tools that are essential to our research process, and write a few research exercises as warm-ups for when we get to the research part of the program.

I will be the first to admit that my research process is a bit whimsical. Also, the desk is usually cluttered with papers of various sorts. So here are some things I'd like to do:
  • Clean off the desk before and after each research session.
  • Have a research goal in mind when I start, make notes of what I've found where, and make a note of where to start next time.
  • Think about what tools might help me research more efficiently. I pretty much do everything on my computer now, putting my iPad to use for quick reference. I'm going to look into Evernote, which people seem to rave about, and see if it will be useful for my work flow.
  • Research "warm-up" exercises. I'm not entirely sure what to do for that. I'll get back to you!

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