Genealogy Do-Over: And so it begins … — 18 Comments

    • Don’t despair, Claudia! I often feel a little of both – perhaps that feeling of being overwhelmed is what drives me to park on the sofa in front of the television instead of in front of my computer filling out a research plan? This process is forcing me to slow down and take my time, and is also helping me make a habit out of using these tools. I honestly think that in the long run, the time that I’ve spent doing this on the front end, the more time it will save me in the future when I’m doing the research.

  1. Hmmm. I think I’m beginning to understand. I’ve spent most of my research time just diving in and making notes as I went… post-it notes, little bits of paper torn off a page, forgetting where I was going and where I’d already been… Sigh. A lot of splashing around (to keep on the deep water theme).
    Think that this week, I’d better spend more time on the step-by-step process of researching and recording as one big step.
    Merci for the samples. Very useful, Jenny, and much appreciated.

    • My pleasure, Celia! Keep working on it and one day (in keeping with your deep water theme) you’ll be choreographing our own synchronized swimming routine instead of randomly throwing life-preservers at our tree trying to keep the branches afloat! 🙂

  2. As for me I am saving these great ideas and examples – right now I am too wrapped up in trying to finish ‘fixing up’ an old house so I can move in. (But there is a room dedicated to genealogy!) I feel like a squirrel in the family tree, bouncing from branch to branch. I have two brick walls that have been here for years, the rest of the family seems to be somewhat cooperative, even dragging in all their in-laws! Making one more ‘to do’ list in my life is overwhelming, though I might start that ‘location’ thing. It will save a lot of time instead of looking at all those little pieces of paper in folders, on bulletin board in computer folders etc. That I just might be able to handle.
    Thanks for all the direction and ground work ideas

    • You are very welcome, Judy. Over the past several days, as I come across tidbits of information, I’ve been tucking them away in my OneNote notebook for the appropriate locality. You’d be amazed by how much information is already piling up in there! It’s no wonder we can’t keep everything straight!

      Good luck with your house (especially your genealogy room)!

  3. Thanks for sharing. I have saved both the excel and word version of your logs. I typically use excel but sometimes find it is good to use word. I may not use them but it is a place to start.

    • Thanks Christine! That’s why I provide several different platforms – one size doesn’t usually fit all. Sometimes it’s easier to perform a task in word processing software because of the easier formatting options, but when you need more advanced sorting, filtering, etc., it’s better in a spreadsheet … so whatever works for your particular need is what’s best for you 🙂

    • Thanks, Diane! It’s actually been sort of liberating, not having the perceived pressure of achieving a “full” tree. Once I allowed myself to be okay with quality over quantity, my entire attitude has changed. I’ll go into that more in my next blog post, but just know that from a sanity standpoint, this might be the best decision I’ve ever made!

      • Jenny,
        I have been at this for dearly a dozen years. I have 4323 people in my Legacy database. I think, compared to others, that is quite a small amount. I have actually gone quite slow (it just turned out that way) and I am 222% sourced. Now, I wasn’t very good in the beginning for sure. But by about year two or three I had learned the importance of recording my sources and being sure of who I enter. So, then I went back and started with my parents and went over every item, just like starting over. I think I’m in decent shape, but I will evaluate that as I read yours and others journey in this process.
        Happy hunting.

  4. Where did you go? I see this was last posted on 5 Jan 2015. I am ‘just starting’ my family history again; after about 10 years of dropping it. I have the personality that gets so excited and ‘just get it done!’ and bounce from one thing to the next, keeping a million zillion ‘little’ notes along the way, let lots of things get in my way, and then become overwhelmed the very next day about where I left off, how much there is to do, and ‘am I making the best use of my time…really????’. But I am learning to sllllllllllow down in this business, and I have barely started again!! The pressure is greatly diminishing when I realize slowing down and being as thorough as I can be would benefit my family search greatly. Living just a couple hours away from Riverton and Salt Lake City, Utah, enables me to take time each month to go attend free classes in genealogy to learn from the ‘pros’, which will help me to learn that I can love what I am doing…not dread it. Today one of my goals was to get online and google “organizing paper files” and found your site. Thank you for this! I would love to hear back from you.

    • Jan,

      Thanks for stopping by! The slowing down is the hardest part, but it is SO worth it in the end. I’m still working on mine as I can, but I’m not blogging about it weekly anymore. I simply have too many other things going on right now that I literally have to squeeze in time to work on my own research. I’m in the middle of ProGen 24, trying to keep up with my bi-monthly magazine column, a new part-time venture, and working full-time. Let’s not forget about 3 cats, a dog, and a guinea pig that demand my attention (probably more than they should).

      But I’ve got you covered! You can find all of my Do-Over posts here:

      Good luck, and don’t give up!!

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