Saturday, January 17, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over Review: Week 2

Wednesday concluded Week 2 of the Genealogy Do-Over, and this is my review of those topics:

Setting Research Goals
As I stated in my post, "Key Genealogy Categories for Targeting Your Goals," my main research goal for 2015 is the following: "I will correctly cite in my RootsMagic database all known facts for my ROBBINS ancestors, as well as all their descendants. I will download or scan all correlating documents, and name and file them on my hard drive according to my digital filing system. My purpose is to have a prepared database for a 2016 goal of publishing a family history. I intend to spend a minimum of one hour a week each Sunday afternoon working on this goal."

I've already begun this work, and serendipitously enough, have just this week gotten in contact with another descendant of my (our) infamous ancestor, Uzza ROBBINS.

Conducting Self Interview
Years ago, I began a blog called AnceStories 2: Stories of Me for My Descendants which had weekly journal prompts. My responses were journaled here at this blog.

I've also kept various journals in electronic and paper form, as well as written a Christmas letter nearly every year since 1990 which serves as an excellent annual summary. My kids gave me, at my request, a Hallmark journal for Mother's Day about five years ago which has questions to answer about my life's story. I do need to spend some time consolidating everything into one location (like my hard drive) and then create back ups. It's just not a feasible goal for this year.

Conducting Family Interviews
When I first started doing genealogy in 1987, I wrote all my grandparents who lived across the country from me, and asked them questions, which they answered in letters. I also interviewed them when they came for visits, and kept notes of some of the phone conversations I had with my maternal grandmother.

My parents are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. I am considering how I could conduct some audio or video interviews about their lives, although both were proficient letter writers, and both sets of my grandparents saved the hundreds of letters my parents wrote to them in Michigan from Alaska from 1966 through 1979. My paternal grandparents also saved my dad's college letters from Canada in the early 1960s. I've been scanning all these letters over the past five years. Yes, it has taken that long! I have kept notes of conversations I've had with my parents in the past 30 years when they've  told stories about their ancestors or when I've asked specific questions about family history.

I do have one grandaunt still living, and I've been thinking I need to interview her as well. In fact, that would be a priority over interviewing my parents, considering her age. She is the youngest sibling of my paternal grandfather (who was the eldest). She wouldn't remember some of the grandparents and great-grandparents of that generation the way my grandfather did, but getting her perspective on the family history would still be invaluable. She does live across the country, so I would probably interview her via letter as I did my grandparents.

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