28 January 2015

My progress on the Genealogy Do-Over

Technically we are into week four of the do-over, but that is not where I am at yet. And that is ok with me because I know I need to get some basics in place before I get too deeply involved with working on research.

The first thing I have to do is make sure the space I am going to be working in is set up in such a way that I can function in it. That means I am taking some time to get my house in order, in between taking care of some health issues as well as watching my granddaughter while her mom is at work.

While I can work with some disorder around me, I know I will function better if part of my mind isn't worried about the dishes in the sink, or the laundry that needs doing. And I know I can make better progress if I don't have to stop and search for a pencil or pad of paper when I want to jot down a note.

So, I am going back to Step 0 as some have described it and getting my home in order.

I have managed to get my budget in order for the coming year.

I have set up a project management workbook in Excel to make sure I am getting life's to do thing taken care of (thank you Thomas MacEntee for sharing your knowledge and expertise).

I am working on getting some health issues taken care of.

I am working on getting the room that will be my office space clean up and organized so that I have a functionable space.

I have written a list of why I am doing genealogy (see previous post) and I have written a list of my short and long term goals for my research (see my post of 29 Dec 2014)

I am reading the posts in the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook group, as well as some of the blogs written by others that are undertaking this journey. I am learning lots from doing that.

This is all progress. And if it isn't as fast as some would do it (or even as fast as I would ideally like to be able to do it), it is getting done. After all slow and steady wins the race, and this is a marathon not a sprint! :)

Why do I do Genealogy?

So why do I do genealogy? Maybe that is where I need to start my do-over. Making a clear statement of the why behind the search. It will help me figure out what direction I am going and the steps I need to reach my destination, or goal.

I actually have a couple of base goals.

Goal One - to get to know who I came from. The names, dates and places are just a start. I also want to know the who the people are beyond the names. What shaped their lives? What were their daily lives like? What were their interests and beliefs?

Goal Two - to be able to share my discoveries with my family. And not just my immediate family, but the extended family of cousins as well as any 2nd and 3rd cousins I can locate, because it is a part of their family story too.

Goal Three - to be able to leave a record of me and who I am in my words, in my voice, so that my children, grandchildren and someday my great grandchildren can know the who I am beyond just a name.

Goal Four - To help others learn about their family by sharing my knowledge and skills in helping them find their roots.

If you are working on your genealogy, what is your why?

04 January 2015

Reorganizing my computer files

One of the things I am working on during this Genealogy Do-Over is getting the files on my computer a bit more organized. To do that I have been considering what would work best for ME. At the moment this is how I have decided to set things up....

I have used the program Folder Marker and used a tree icon for any folder dealing with genealogy. I have started a new folder for doing the Do-over which I have named Genealogy Do-Over

Within the Genealogy Do-Over Folder I have a Folder for my tree, and a Folder for my exhusband's family (he is the father of my children so they will want his side of the family too). I again used Folder Marker to change the color on the folders so that it is easier to see which folder is which.

In each of those folders I have added two folders which I named Places and Surnames. The folder named Places will be for general information about the places my families lived, but don't necessarily mention my families specifically. I will go from Larger to smaller, for example United States > California > Sierra County > Sierra City.

Within the Surnames folder I will make folders for each surname within my tree. Then within the individual surname folders I have a folder for Documents. (Notice I put an underscore before the name, this is so that folder will always be at the top of the list.) In the Documents folder I have 22 subfolders. This where I will put the various documents that have to do with that surname. The reason for this set up is that I have surname binders and those are the tabs I have in the binders. So to me it made sense to use the same set up on my computer.

I have those folders named: General Surname Info, Birth, Marriage, Death, Obituaries, Cemetery Records, Probate, Census, Church, City Directories, Court Records, Divorce Records, Family Correspondence, Land Records, Military Service Records, Military Pension Records, Naturalization Records, Newspaper Items, Passenger Lists, School Records, Tax Records, Voter Records. You will notice that I put a number at the beginning of each name, this is to force them to stay in the order I want them listed (which is the same order that I have the tabs in my binders) rather than reverting to Alphabetical Order.

Also in the individual surname's folders I will make a folder for each individual person. I will again use Folder Marker to change the color of the folders to make them more distinct from the Documents folder. In the individual person's folder I will put anything that deals specifically with them but doesn't belong in one of the documents folderss, for example the research plan for that person.

As time goes on and I am working with this set up I may end up changing things, but for now I think this set up will work. Remember when setting up your organizational ideas to consider how YOU work because it doesn't make any difference how things are set up if you don't use it because it doesn't make sense to you!