31 December 2014

Getting ready for Do-Over

Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy Do-Over starts on Friday, January 2nd.

I have been doing some thinking about file naming (still haven't totally decided on how I will do that, need to really sit there and consider the options to decide which is most natural to the way I do things so I will be able to use it in a consistent manner).

I do know I am going to totally start over with a brand new tree using the same genealogy software, Family Tree Maker 2014.

I am starting a brand new tree because I have several trees due to computer/software glitches that wanted me to open the tree with a new name. Plus some of it is my mom's research from before she died in 1997 and some of it is my research. So for me it is easier to start new and go through every document, every note, one by one and make sure everything is correct and properly cited than to try and go back and just review and try and correct errors in the existing database(s). (And boy is that a terrible run on sentence, but hopefully you get the jest of what I mean.)

I just ordered some banker boxes (supposed to arrive on Friday). I will take out every folder, every notebook every scrap of paper relating to genealogy from my file cabinet drawers and put them in there. Then as I go through the folders I will put them back into the filing cabinet. That way I can be sure that I have looked at each piece of information.

I will be resubscribing to Ancestry.com on January 2nd, for now probably on a month to month basis for just the US because my generation, my children's generation, my grandchildren's generation and my parents' generation have all spent their entire lives in the US. Well, except for the year my son spent in Afghanistan and the year he spent in Cuba but since that was as a member of the US Army there shouldn't be any non-US records even for him.

I do have a subscription to Genealogy Bank. Need to check and see which other services I still have current subscriptions to...

I will be taking time to really work on my genealogy this year. I am determined to make it the priority in life like it is in my mind.

I am going to read at least 1 genealogy book per month to keep my knowledge growing.

I am going to read 1 genealogy magazine a month. I have a subscription to Family Tree Magazine and am ashamed to say that there have been many issues I have looked at the front cover, then set them aside and never actually read.

I am going to take my list of genealogy goals that I posted a couple of days ago and break them down into do-able steps with a do by date for each step to help keep me moving forward. And if that means I don't stay on the same schedule as Thomas' Do-Over schedule then that is ok, I will use his information as it is applicable to my research.

30 December 2014

Some new (to me) products

I am really enjoying being a part of Thomas MacEntee's facebook group
Genealogy Do-Over I have found a couple of new products that I have started using.

The first product is Evernote Free version. It is great for writing notes, you can organize your notes into notebooks so that like notes are together. It also allows you to tag your notes making them easier to search for specific topics. Another great feature is that you can clip webpages directly into a note. I have clipped a number of other people's blog posts about how they are working out organizational messes in preparation for the Do-Over. It is allowing me to go back and forth between different options without worrying about trying to locate the post on their blogs again. (This feature would work great for clipping those recipes from Facebook that you want to try someday too.) I have a couple of different notebooks set up already for different aspects of my life, the one I am using the most right now is the one I have set up for notes about the Genealogy Do-Over.

The second product I have found is called Folder Marker. Again there is a free version and it allows you to change the color of your folders on your computer, or to use an icon instead of a folder. I have changed all folders that have anything to do with genealogy to a tree making it easy to find those main folders

Example of how I have started to use Folder Marker on the file folders on my computer.

Another program I am considering checking out is Evidentia. It is supposed to help you compare and evaluate the facts found from different sources helping you prove or disprove a hypothesis, and I believe it does have a free trial period. But since I am not to the point of wanting to evaluate documents right now I am going to wait before downloading the trial version.

29 December 2014

Setting Genealogy Goals for 2015 (and further into the future)

One of the things that the Genealogy Do-Over has been doing for me and many others is forcing us to look at our goals and writing them down in the hopes that we can bring some order to the mess our research has become.  

Below are the goals that I have come up with so far. Yes the list is pretty extensive. No I do not think I can even come close to being able to accomplish this all in 2015. But by writing out the goals I can come up with a workable plan and can make progress in reaching those goals. I have learned from other areas to break things down into baby steps. When I just look at the big picture I can become discouraged and want to give up. When I say today I will spend 15 minutes going through 1 or 2 file folders that I can do. It is amazing how quickly those babysteps can start showing results! 
  1. Find 1 or 2 others also doing this to set up a personal accountability group to keep me honest and on track. 
  2. Take this list of goals and break it down to yearly, quarterly, monthly and weekly goals with some sort of checklist to help me stay on track. 
  3. Set specific time aside for working on my research at least a couple of times a week. If I say it is a priority, I need to show that by actually setting aside time to work on it! 
  4. Read magazines and books on the subject on a regular basis, participate in group discussions about Genealogy to keep learning new tips and tricks. 
  5. Become more familiar with source citation standards so using them is 2nd nature. 
  6. Set naming standards for folder and files, both digital and paper so that not only I can find what I want, but have my files organized in such a way that other will be able to use them. 
  7. Develop and USE a research log.... maybe an extension of my current research plan worksheet? 
  8. Create a physical file folder for each individual with an inventory sheet and a checklist of source to look for sheet. As research plans are made paper copies will also be placed into this folder. 
  9. Start a new tree for my ancestors beginning with myself. 
    1.  After entering name onto tree make a folder for that person on the computer and a physical file folder for that person so I can easily store all pertinent documents for that person 
    2. Write a research plan for that person, store a digital copy in the folder on the computer and a paper copy in the physical file folder 
    3. Locate all documentation I already have for that person, if already in digital form move to their folder. If I only have a paper copy of the documentation, either scan it or find a digital copy of the file online and place in the appropriate file. If I only have a digital copy, print out a paper copy and put into file folder. Goal is to have both a paper and digital copy of all important documents. 
    4. Have an offsite backup copy of all files, for when computer glitches or fails. 
    5.  Place paper copies of documents in the proper folder and put into the file cabinet, being sure to add the document to the inventory list at the front of the folder. 
    6.  Enter the information one document at a time into the tree being sure to properly document the source of the information. 
    7.  Only after I have reasonably exhausted all research on that individual, move on to the next individual.  
    8. Make sure all information is correct, as well as correctly connected to the appropriate people, and that the source of information is correctly cited. 
  10. Stay on top of filing. As I get each new document I need to file it away in its proper folder so things stay in order and don't get misplaced 
  11. Pay special attention to Shields/Doten line so I can apply for membership in Mayflower Society 
  12. Scan, label, file and share photos. 
  13. Write quarterly family newsletter for Newman cousins, consider a quarterly newsletter for Busch cousins. 
  14. Self-Publish a Busch family genealogy and submit to Family History Library in Salt Lake City, as well as a copy to the Modoc County Library and the Library is Sierra City, Sierra, California, in honor of my mother's work. Then work on self-publishing other lines and submit to the Family History Library and other libraries as appropriate to the family line. 
  15. Join pertinent lineage/family societies, such as the Stiles Family of America and the Association of American Boyers to be able to collaborate with others researching common lines 
  16. Finish outlining the Records of the Antrim Family in America book by Harriet Stockton Antrim to help me (and others) in researching that name since the book is not indexed, nor are individuals numbered in standardized genealogical fashion.
  17. Write in the journal I started to record my personal life story on a regular basis so my descendants have a part of me in my own words when I am no longer around.
Do you have a list of goals for the coming year? Spend a little time thinking about it. Write them down, then break those goals into bite size babysteps that you can feel good about accomplishing. 

27 December 2014

Let's Brainstorm Research Logs

In the Facebook group "Genealogy Do-Over" we have been chatting about doing a spreadsheet to help us track our census research. In addition, I have posted a file with a research plan worksheet for an individual (see below for pictures of a blank worksheet, feel free to adapt for your needs)... but the "form" I just can't make work for me is a research log of any sort... most printed forms just don't give enough space to write enough of anything to really track my research (unless I am totally missing the point on those logs).

Brian Langley's spreadsheet idea for the census is making me consider using a spreadsheet format for a research log... course then my question is do I use a separate "book" for each major branch (for example my sweet sixteen surnames)? and then have a sheet for research on each individual in that branch (for example in the "Newman" book a sheet for Linda D Newman, a sheet for my dad, a sheet for his dad, etc)? What columns/rows do I need on this spreadsheet? to me the problem with using a computerized spread sheet comes when I go to someplace like the FHL and I am sitting at the microfilm readers and am researching a film.... I have a 17" laptop, so can't really have that sitting open in order to add stuff to the spreadsheet as I go, a physical paper notebook or journal works better in that case where i can jot down notes.

I am totally looking to hear what has worked for others (although from some of the comments in the group it would seems I am not the only one that struggles with this). Let's brainstorm!

24 December 2014

In preparation of the Genealogy Do-Over

In preparation for the Genealogy Do-Over I think I will re-read the book "Genealogy 101: How to Trace Your Family's History and Heritage (National Genealogical Society Guides)" by Barbara Renick, This is a really good book for beginner and for the experienced genealogist. I liked so much that I have given it as a gift to a number of people that I knew were interested in learning more about doing genealogy.

Do you have a genealogy book that you really like and recommend to others?

22 December 2014

Genealogy Do-Over

I received an email today from Thomas MacEntee with his announcement that he was going to do a "Genealogy Do-Over." The concept intrigues me because I KNOW that so much of my early research was not properly cited. There was just so much I didn't know, and I took the word of others on some of the lines, and they sent me names, dates and places but not always sources. Plus my files are a combination of my research and research my mom had done. Not only that, when I started it was back in the days of DOS, and files didn't always transfer cleanly from DOS to windows... in fact the first FTM program I used was FTM 5.0! Needless to say the computer database is a mess, not to mention what my paper files look like....

The idea of going back and editing all the info is daunting. The idea of starting a totally new database feels much better. I can start with myself, make sure all my info is in the database and properly cited, then add my spouses, my children, my parents, my siblings, etc one by one and making sure everything is properly entered in a uniform manner and properly cited feels right... Nothing will be entered unless I have the documentation for it. If I have info with no documentation it will go in the notes section marked as speculation.

So starting January 1st I am starting fresh.... if you have been doing this for awhile is this something you need to think about doing too?

02 August 2014

Announcing start of Genealogy Services Business

I have started a Genealogy Services Business called:
Linda D. Newman Genealogy Services.

I have been doing genealogy since 1994. I have researched my family in the US, England, Ireland, and Canada, so have a pretty good background in searching at least the basic records in all those countries. I have also done research for others in recent years and they have all been pleased with the results. The most common response is "Wow! I didn't know you would be able to find so much on my family"

If you don't know where to start, or have reached a brick wall and need a little help please contact me. I will be honest in letting you know if I have the skill set to help you in your research. I understand the necessity of documenting where I searched, what I found, and using proper citation for all records.

I have a business page on Facebook at: Linda D Newman Genealogy Services. Rate information is available on my facebook page. Or you can contact me via email at mom4teachr@yahoo.com Please specify that you are writing me about possibly contracting for genealogy research help.

Let's Talk Family History!

Newman paternal haplogroup

One of my male cousins on the Newman side did the 23andMe dna testing, The results for the paternal haplogroup show our Newman branch is R1b1b2a1a1. R1b1b2a1a1 is most commonly found on the fringes of the North Sea.

The interesting part is that my son's paternal haplogroup is R1b1b2a1a1* (which would be the LUCIER line).

From 23andMe:
Today R1b1b2a1a1 is found mostly on the fringes of the North Sea in England, Germany and the Netherlands, where it reaches levels of one-third. That distribution suggests that some of the first men to bear the haplogroup in their Y-chromosomes were residents of Doggerland, a real-life Atlantis that was swallowed up by rising seas in the millennia following the Ice Age. Doggerland was a low-lying region of forests and wetlands that must have been rich in game; today, fishing trawlers in the North Sea occasionally dredge up the bones and tusks of the mastodons that roamed there. Doggerland had its heyday between about 12,000 years ago, when the Ice Age climate began to ameliorate, and 9,000 years ago, when the meltwaters of the gradually retreating glaciers caused sea levels to rise, drowning the hunter's paradise. Doggerland's inhabitants retreated to the higher ground that is now the North Sea coast.

30 May 2014

Salt Lake City - part 1

I am in Salt Lake City this week doing some genealogy research. I will start with a few hints and tips that I have already come up with for someone who decides to come to SLC for the first time to research.

First write research plans. This applies to any time you are going to do some research, but especially if you are traveling to get to your research location (like Salt Lake City Family History Library, or even your local library). What do you put in a research plan? Start with the basic of who you are researching. Add your name as researcher, the date you wrote the plan and leave a space to put when and where you are doing the research. Then I put my objectives, what it is I am hoping to find. Then I listed what facts I already knew along with what sources I got the information from. Then I wrote what I called a "working hypothesis" where I listed info about the individual (or family). This can include speculations, just be careful to note what is proven fact and what is speculation so you don't confuse yourself. Then I have a section for Research Strategies, where I list specific records to check. Finally I have a section for notes. (See Emma Antrim for an example of one of my research plans.)

Once I had my research plans written and printed I bought some of those 3 prong folders like we used to use in school. In it I put the person's family group sheet, the research plan and a minimal amount of note pages to write note on so I can note what I looked at, documenting sources, what I found, and any new ideas or questions I come up with for further research. This makes it easy to pull out one folder at a time so I can concentrate on one thing at a time, It keeps me from getting too overwhelmed.

Be sure and spend time online researching what records you will be able to use at the location you are going to. Making note of call numbers and film/fiche numbers so you don't have to waste time doing that once you get to the library. On your research plan note the book titles (or film/fiche titles), authors name if given and their call numbers, so that you have all the information in one place.

This is all basic information and while almost any book will tell you the same basic thing it never hurts to hear it again (and again and again).

Will post more later, for now it it time for me to get back to my research. :)

Happy Hunting!