Ruth's Genealogy

“I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.” -Abraham Lincoln

red buttonGenealogy Do-Over

the 2015 educational initiative at GeneaBloggers – where you do get to go home again . . .

and start over with your genealogy research.


But first… WHERE HAVE I BEEN and what have I been doing…?

I have been monitoring the Genealogy Do-Over topics, week by week, though not always completing each week’s assignment.

In a nutshell (large nutshell!), this is where I am:

Week 1 – 2-8 January 2015

  • Setting Previous Research Aside
  • Preparing to Research
  • Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines

Week 2 – 9-15 January 2015

  • Setting Research Goals
  • Conducting Self Interview
  • Conducting Family Interviews (I finally interviewed my Dad and Aunt Kathy, with some interesting findings…*)

Week 3 – 16-22 January 2015

  • Tracking Research
  • Conducting Research

Week 4 – 23-29 January 2015

  • Managing Projects and Tasks
  • Tracking Searches

Week 5 – 30 January-5 February 2015

  • Building a Research Toolbox
  • Citing Sources

Week 6 – 6-12 February 2015

  • Evaluating Evidence
  • Reviewing Online Education Options

Week 7 – 13-19 February 2015

  • Reviewing Genealogy Database Software
  • Digitizing Photos and Documents (I’m now saving scanned photos and documents in .tff format, at 600 dpi. My scanner will do OCR, barely (plain, simple text), but I have also used Free Online OCR, seems to work better. Or, there’s always Transcript.)

Week 8 – 20-26 February 2015

  • Conducting Collateral Research (As my Dad and my Aunt Kathy are the only survivors of that generation, I have been talking to them about some of my Mom’s history.)
  • Reviewing Offline Education Options (On the back-burner for now. I work 6 days/week, so I’m happy with webinars and other online education options. 🙂 )

Week 9 – 27 February-5 March 2015

  • Conducting Cluster Research- (I haven’t really gotten to that point in my do-over yet. I’ve completed the “preliminary” (will it ever be “final”?) research on me, my parents, one deceased brother and a deceased teenage cousin, so I actually have a lot of info with no major mysteries to solve.)
  • Organizing Research Materials – Documents and Photos

Week 10 – 6-12 March 2015

  • Reviewing DNA Testing Options (This is one area of genealogy that I freely admit that I know nothing of. Not. Any. Thing. I need to do some serious studying on this subject!)
  • Organizing Research Materials-Digital (While I scan as much as possible and upload those images to OneDrive and save other copies of the originals to an external hard, I also take extra-good care of any original photos and documents that I have. I place all in archive-quality, acid-free storage. Hopefully, they will survive as long as possible. I adapted Diana Ritchie’s naming scheme earlier in this project and it is working quite well. And as for metadata, what a great idea to “hide” the source citation within the metadata! It would never have occurred to me…)


So this is my research/documentation “method of madness” today:

  • I started with myself, then moved to both parents. Here I halted my backward progress and picked up some deceased family members from recent years (my brother and my cousin.) I still have an another cousin who died last year to research, then I move on to my grandparents. Right or wrong, I’m focusing on deceased ancestors at this time, with the exception of my Dad. I guess I’ll research my surviving sibling and other living cousins when the time comes…
  • I return to the scene of the crime, my old genealogy database folders, and copy/rename all relevant photos and documents to my new database folders
  • I also go through my genealogy filing cabinet, evaluate what I have for the person being researched and then move the relevant items to a new file folder. The new folders then go together into a separate drawer of the filing cabinet
  • I then enter and create citations in my RootsMagic database for each fact supported by these “old” images
  • When that has been completed, I begin a new internet search to find any more relevant data
  • When I feel like I have found all I can online from home, I make a trip my local library to check
  • Finally, after I have completed “reasonably exhaustive search” for online data, I return to my current RootsMagic database, analyze what I have and don’t have, and then add to my shopping list for my next trip to the downtown Fort Worth library, which has a great genealogy department. Or start sending emails and letters, depending on what I still need.
  • A couple of local places that I’ve never visited are the local Family History Library and the Fort Worth branch of the National Archives. I know, pretty sad. Just gotta make the time and go!

So that’s where I’m at with the 2015 Genealogy Do-Over project. Getting there, getting there…

* I’ve been doing genealogy since 2003 and just found out some basic yet important facts about my parents. But that will be for a later post… 😉

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