Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My Goals for the Genealogy Do-Over

On December 15th, Thomas MacEntee published Announcing the Genealogy Do-Over in which he explained how his past research methods frustrated him. He invited other genealogists to join him in his venture and the following week posted a schedule of topics he plans to follow for the next few months. Currently, his Genealogy Do-Over Facebook group has 545 members as of this moment.

I'm not a straight jump-on-the-bandwagon type of person. I enjoy being a part of a group, but I've got to have a good reason to join and I weigh my time, energy, and budget against what would be required of me if I participated. I asked myself if I was willing to start a new database from scratch, and Self said, "No way." However, that doesn't mean I'm not willing to clean up what I have, which I've been doing on and off for several years now (guess it's time to stay "on" now with this!) and to implement some personal policies and procedures on how I do my own research that align with what I've done with my client research. So after some consideration and looking through the posts on the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook group in which other members described their goals, I came up with the following targets for my own Genealogy Do-Over.

1. Slow Down
It's easy to download 10 documents from the internet, add the pertinent info to your database, and then walk away without taking the time to analyze, cite, and file the documents digitally in the right folders with the appropriate new names. I get on a roll and my non-linear creative thinking kicks in, which is really great for thinking outside the box. It's lightning-fast thinking, too, and it's hard to keep up with where my mind is racing off to. It's not-so-great-thinking for keeping track of what search terms I used or where I searched or what my results were. So I give myself permission to slow down and take all the time I need to do it right the first time. Which leads us to the next step:

2. Do it right
When I have clients, not only do I slow down and follow all the important details I've mentioned in Step 1 (analyze, cite, file), I also write research plans, keep research logs, and draw up research reports. My family tree deserves the same respect and care that I would give any other client. It's OK to have those light-bulb moments and epiphanies, but it's paramount to make the time to follow up with those details. The great thing is I've got a wonderful set of skills learned from ProGen and tech tools I've gathered or created that can facilitate this important step.

3. Write with passion again
My blog has great ancestor stories that I wrote in the early days of blogging. After all, the name of this blog is AnceStories: The Stories of my Ancestors. However, life got hectic with parenting my teens and then a divorce, followed by longer work hours as I support myself financially. Additionally, I gained a lot of weight sitting around blogging and living with stress, so I spent a couple of years working hard to get it off. That took a lot of time but I've realized my health is worth that daily hour. I may not be able to crank out two to three quality blog posts a week anymore, but I give myself permission not to feel the pressure to do so. I want my posts to be a combination of great ancestor stories, quality research practices, and embedded citations. Those things are going to take time. But again, that's part of my goals: Slow down, do it right, write with passion again.

How about you? Are you ready to do a Genealogy Do-Over?

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