Well, in November I managed (finally!) to finish the transcription of the Michael Marten 1750 will. I needed the help of the wills-mistress of the Sussex Family History Group on several place names as well as the name of the court official who swore in the executrices. This will and the William Denman will now will be available to members in transcribed form through her group, here. You can see the list of what is held, by name and by placename on the site without being a member. The other task I worked on in November was cleaning up my Evernote notebooks and adding information to my Roots Magic tree.
What I have discovered is that the 25 minute challenge works very well for me on tasks that I have ready to work on and can stop in the middle of any step when the time runs out. I have to be able to stop and get up from the computer when the timer goes off, so any task that can’t be stopped in the middle doesn’t work.
December will, of course, bring more holidays to be prepared for and celebrated, and that will take some of my discretionary time this month. However, my goal is to continue to chip away at the Evernote cleaning up and organizing. .One of the changes I’m making is to make each note title the surname, first name of the person the note is about.
If I get more motivated to do some cleaning up – and I might as the end of the year looms – I will go back to doing the same organizational tasks in my computer family files. This “genealogy go-over” is necessary before I do much more research on any individual or family, since there is still a ton of evidence lurking in the computer files that I don’t need to go looking for all over again. This is another task that should also lend itself nicely to the 25-minutes-a-day challenge. .
I have been thinking lately about joining the MacEntee Genealogy Do-Over group for real (not just reading the Facebook page!). I am, as they say, in the contemplative phase. Friends could tell you that I am frequently in the contemplative stage about a lot of projects. This is true. I seem to spend a lot of time thinking about doing or how to do before I am finally ready to commit myself to act. I’m sure this is diagnostic of something or other.
Be that as it may, I have been toying with the idea of the Do-Over since I am trying harder to source evidence for the things I know about my family lines. More than a year ago I started a fresh new RootsMagic tree for my family intending to add people as I had evidence to back up the facts. A good idea I haven’t followed through on.
Moreover, at this point I am aware of how much information I have collected and not done anything with. I have digital images of all sorts of registers and certificates (as well as index entries and actual pieces of paper) that do actually provide some evidence about events in people’s live. The digital files live in surname folders on my computer (at least I’ve gotten that far!) with inconsistent filenames and as I work on a given folder I discover that I “found” the same evidence more than once (sometimes years apart) since I didn’t see/know that I already had it. I also have binders of paper information of the same sort from earlier times which is in the same sad state of never having been connected to the people referred to. Bah!
Worse yet, as I have worked on a folder to assign consistent (and currently approved-by-Pat) filenames, I don’t necessarily add the information to my tree, so if I am looking at it I don’t know that I have evidence for a fact. Double Bah! I do know better than this, I just don’t do what I know is a better way.
So my contemplation of the Genealogy Do-Over is thinking about whether it will help me conquer this nasty habit or set of habits and establish a more organized way of researching. I would like to be able to see that I am actually making some progress and learning new things about my family lines because I could see that I needed to research a particular question. My perfectionistic self would also like to be able to see that computer files and paper files are organized and easy for anyone to look at and understand.
Well November has flown by with not nearly enough hours in each day or enough days in a week to accomplish everything. We had snow on the ground twice, although the first time, early in the month, hardly counted since it didn’t even completely cover things. The second time was over Thanksgiving but did not cancel any of the family’s traveling. So, as I start to pull my thoughts together for my genealogy projects for December, there is snow on the ground and the temperature is low. A good time to be inside.
Not a lot of genealogy work got done in November but I did manage to go through each of my direct ancestors in my RootsMagic database back through my great great grandparents and enter all the vital information I have on each. This allowed me to create a list (in Evernote but I need to make it a spreadsheet) of what is missing for each person. By doing this I cleaned up a small amount of the “obtained but not used” pieces of information sitting in the various family name files. I did also go back and check quickly to see if any of the indexed but not digitized things had now been digitized. The big online sources do so much and add so many records that it is always worth checking again.
I once heard Josh Taylor say that he had taken a year off from adding to his own research and devoted that time to organizing his information and files. He has an impressive system set up. At the time I couldn’t quite imagine taking that much time to do nothing but clean-up, but I seem to have fallen into doing a lot of it. Which certainly needs doing. What happens, regardless of how I have set up my work process, is that I find myself checking for an additional piece of evidence that I am reminded of by my organizing. So while I am spending much of my genealogy time on organizing, I am also adding to my information and clarifying relationships.
I have 2 more posts I want to write about my part of the England trip experience (that is, the genealogical rather than the sightseeing). One of these will get done for December.
The last project I hope to get started on is to begin reading one of the myriad Evernote how-to books that are available for Kindles, periodically for free (my favorite price!). I use Evernote a lot but know that I am not as efficient about it as I could be, and I’m interested in how to better use it to track my research.
These plus the holidays that rapidly approach will keep me plenty busy but in pleasant ways. My fingers are crossed for not too much more snow here in December so we all can get done what needs doing. Happy holidays to all!
* I sent for 5 remaining birth/death records still in the Scheier 2011 folder, from LDS, in May. I am waiting patiently (well, trying to be patient) for their arrival. One death record is potentially my Joseph Scheier, husband of Zissel and the father of the siblings I have written about.
* Plan research trip to southwestern Ohio with my sister. I think I will focus on cemeteries and maybe a couple of the towns my family lived in with the aim of providing some current pictures and local history for context.
* Continue to search through the 1940 census for family. I have found a number of families, but continue to look for my parents (who were college students but might have been on co-op when the census was taken.)
* In May I actually made it through the rest of the folders in my Research 2011 folder on my husband’s side and sourced information in my database and moved files to where they will reside more permanently. I also scanned all of the photos that were piled on my desk. Celebrate!! Now they only need to be put in protective sheets and it will be done.
* What I didn’t get done was the rest of the inbox, or the Snow and Minor information from the Connecticut State Library. So those are still on the list. If I keep putting them on, sooner or later I will get to them.
* Back up the blog. Putting this on my monthly to-do list reminds me, when I look at the post to see that it got published and this helps me remember to actually do the back up. Otherwise my memory doesn’t always work.
* Learn more about finding living relatives and how to persuasively contact them.
* Watch one online video or webinar about genealogy. [In May I listened to an interview Lisa Louis Cooke did with Bruce Buzbee, head of RootsMagic and senior Magician and was inspired to upgrade my software. I also watched one of the free RootsMagic webinars specific to the latest version, about using the new research log feature. Ok, not strictly about genealogy but very useful and it will stand me in good stead as I research.] Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with RootsMagic except that I use the program and I really like it.
* Continue to look for live relatives in the Scheier line. [No success in October. However, I did have a cause for a genealogy happy dance: I got registrations/certificates of marriage for two Scheier men, confirming that they were both sons of Zissel and in one case providing her maiden name and his birthplace with more than “Russia”. Her maiden name is not easy to decipher but I think I have it. ]
* Figure out what events in direct line are next to find sources for. Order more original records from LDS for direct lines. [See above for my increased motivation to do this.]
* I always forget to put this one on, but it is the most important! Back up the blog. I always put this on my calendar, and try very hard to back up on the first of the month. I’d put on backing up my genealogy database too, but I have that set up to back up in the cloud in two places. All the pictures have been another issue, until I broke down and bought a new computer with a *much* bigger hard drive. Now, a huge number of hours later the pictures are also backed up in the cloud – although only one place. Hm. Still needs tweaking.
* Label and add metadata to all the images I have scanned this Fall.
* Go through the three inboxes on my desk and see what is lurking there to be put away, entered into the database, etc.
* Watch one online video or webinar about genealogy. November will be a challenging month to get this one accomplished since I am away for the first part of the month, and hosting a big family Thanksgiving at the end. I think I will probably watch/listen to one of the RootsMagic webinars that is available anytime, to give myself the most flexibility. [I listened to the Gena Philbert-Ortega webinar about finding your female relatives, sponsored by the Southern California Genealogical Society at the beginning of October. It was wonderful, and I learned a lot.]