Kristin's Do-Over - Week 2
OK, it's just about the official end of Genealogy Do-Over Week Two. The topics this week are:
- Setting Research Goals
- Conducting Self Interview
- Conducting Family Interviews
Thomas MacEntee suggests conducting the interviews before attempting to set research goals.
In my journey, here's what I've done this week and why I'm currently on a slightly different timeline.
- Set up "The Intentional Genealogist" blog for the first time with Bruce's help and added multiple articles.
- Researched different genealogial database programs (though I haven't made a decision yet).
- Read blogs of several others involved in the Do-Over. (Thomas MacEntee has links to over 3000 blogs from his Geneabloggers Blog Roll. Wow! I wish it were easier to scroll through them, though there are some sort capabilities.)
What I haven't done and why:
- Self-interview: I have done this previously by entries to my genealogical program. However, I need to get it out of that program and into a format that I can file, either as paper or in Evernote. (Yes, still trying to figure out the best storage format, if there is such a thing.) As part of my DAR application, I did assemble and scan my birth certificate and marriage license. I even came across my baby footprints taken at the hospital! There are other documents that can still be scanned (church confirmation, diplomas from various schools, and certainly photos. But I do have either the original or a certified copy of the key sources (birth, marriage) to be reviewed for primary and secondary information. Having said all that, those are just the bare facts. I do have as a long-term goal to write more of an autobiography as my parents-in-law did or even a less formal document like my mother did. My mother saw a lot of technological changes in her 92+ years (remembering their first electric light, for example), and so have we baby boomers.
- Family interviews: Sad to say, there's not much family to interview. Both my parents and grandparents are gone. Before she died, I was able to convince my mother to write down some memories, and I'm so grateful that she did. My father was an only child (as am I), and I don't know anyone from other branches of that family - yet! The only person from my parents' generation still living is my mother's baby brother. At age 94, he's almost totally deaf. He can still look at and help identify photographs but, sadly, he lives about a seven hour drive away. The last time we visited, I did gather some information from his wife and his son (my cousin), but I think I've tapped that out. There are some of my mother's cousins still living and who have helped identify some photos, but again, none are nearby. My father did pass down some written family trees and histories, so those serve as a useful starting point, but all must be proven.
- Research goals: Hopefully some of these will become clearer as we progress through the Do-Over. Here's what I've got so far...
- I do have some brick walls that I know I want to work on as the Do-Over progresses. But that's jumping the gun.
- First I want to focus on my direct ancestors -- to obtain and cite the evidence for each of my direct ancestors, filling any gaps as needed. I'm still puzzling over the best way to do this without jumping ahead in the Do-Over.
- One of the possible tools is GenSmarts, which can run against existing trees to help identify gaps. So far I've only downloaded the free trial and am evaluating.
- Another possibility is ResearchTies, a web-based tool that I heard about at RootsTech 2014. It is designed to record research objectives and sources, as well as logs. It's online, so you have access to it wherever you connect to the internet. ResearchTies has an annual subscription.
- Yet another tool is Clooz3. We purchased this at FGS 2014 in San Antonio, but I haven't explored it yet. There are video tutorials on their website and/or on YouTube.
- Or there's a paper or electronic Research Plan and Research Log. There are a number of these floating around in the Files section of the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook group. It's a closed group, meaning that you have to ask to join.
Looks like this is the first decision I should make. Of course, it's not a permanent decision; I can always change my mind. I'm going to start with filling out a form for each immediate family member so I can see what I have and what I'm missing.
To be continued...