So here we are. It’s officially started. Yikes! Things just got all kinds of real.
As I mentioned in my previous post, the most time-consuming topic for Week 1 (for me) is “establishing base practices and guidelines.” I’ve never been a big fan of “rules,” and I’m also pretty lazy, which is basically a recipe for disaster (and the reason I’m in yet another do-over!)
But this time will be different! For real! (I can hear you rolling your eyes. Stop it.)
In my last post, I had already decided on a file-naming scheme – which I have already amended … twice – and a document handling process, but I still needed some idea of what to do about research plans and research logs. Coincidentally, Chapter 14 of Professional Genealogy (“Problem Analyses and Research Plans” by Helen F.M. Leary, CG) is my ProGen assignment for January! Well THAT certainly couldn’t have been timed any better!
As I was reading Chapter 14, I had one of those “A-ha!” moments. There was a flow … a process … that could be followed when creating a research plan. Fantastic! So I took what the process looked like inside my head and began mapping it out on my whiteboards (this is when I realized that the variety of colors in my current collection of dry erase markers was incredibly lacking, which necessitated a run to the office supply store). It was beautiful! I also looked at some online research plans by a very well-known genealogist whose initials may or may not be ‘ESM’ and sort of mixed and matched. Here is what I came up with:
I have transferred this plan to an Excel spreadsheet and intend to use it as a template. I have also created a new research log for myself. It consists of six columns: date, repository, goal, source citation, found (Y/N), and comments. For me, simple is better. If it’s any more complicated than a few columns, I won’t use it; and that’s completely counterproductive to my goal. My intent is to create the plan on the first sheet of my Excel workbook, then have my research log on the second sheet. I’ll work with it for a little while and see if it requires tweaking. This is what my research log looks like:
My next project – which will apparently be ongoing throughout the rest of my natural life – is to create some sort of central place where I can dump information about geographic areas where my ancestors lived so I can have it at my fingertips when needed. You know what I mean … you sit in webinars and someone blurts out a website that is “super awesome” and has everything about [insert place name here] and you write it on a post-it note, never to be seen again; or you’re reading a thread on Facebook and all of a sudden there’s three people who are researching in the same place as one of your brick wall ancestors and they start talking about how the courthouse doesn’t have the old court records anymore, but the historical society does. Yeah. Those things. I’m contemplating OneNote for this because of the ability to create separate tabs and pages for different topics within each locality (history, vital records, etc.), like a 3-ring binder, but the jury is still out. So that’s my hurdle for this week – deciding on a suitable tool for this information that I will actually use.
As we progress through the Do-Over during these next several weeks, I will (hopefully) be posting my progress at the end of each week. I can’t wait to see how much progress everyone makes!
Do we share ancestors? Email me: lostancestors AT gmail DOT com
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