Fresh Start!

Beautiful sunrise off the coast of Cancun (taken by NikiMarie in Jan 2014)

Beautiful sunrise off the coast of Cancun (taken by NikiMarie in Jan 2014)

This is kind of along the idea of the genealogy do-over that is going on over at geneabloggers (the site is down at the moment by the way).

I use two programs to keep track of my family tree: Ancestry.com and RootsMagic. My RootsMagic tree is the one I consider to be correct. When I have verified enough information, I add that person to my tree. Sometimes I do add people even though I’ve only found them listed as a parent on a death certificate but that gives me a research goal to work with (plus I make a note that I have only found them on a death certificate).

Now my Ancestry.com tree is what I call a clue tree – items aren’t verified on there. I do have a public tree now (for AncestryDNA items) and there are a LOT of unverified ancestors on there. So I do have some work to do.

This has been a rather ongoing project – something I started before taking my BU course. I went through and scanned every paper copy document I had and filed them in my computer (I use Dropbox and Backblaze as backups) so my file cabinet now matches my computer. Well, more or less. I don’t print off online sources that I find and file them in my file cabinet, I just save that in a folder on my computer. After every document was scanned in and correctly labeled, I went through and RE-CITED every document in my program (because I now know how to do it correctly.

That took A. LONG. TIME. However, it’s finished (or well, the documents I currently have in my program are finished – just ignore the growing paper file next to my desk…) and now everything in there is cited correctly. Now I’m going through and seeing if I have facts for people that don’t have a source connected to it. Normally this happens because I simply forgot to tag the source to the fact so it’s usually a quick fix. But sometimes, it takes me a bit to figure out where I got that bit of information from and yes, some items have been deleted.

Once this is complete, then I can go through and compare each person to what I have on Ancestry.com to see what I need to add. It’ll be a long process, but at least my research will be up to date and ready for a more focused research plan this year!

That is another goal this year – focus my research on specific people in a specific line. I have genealogy ADD too often! I see a name and quickly decide to follow that for a bit until it leads to another name where I follow that for a bit, etc. etc.

Anyone else going for a fresh start to their genealogy research this year? Or even going to give the genealogy do-over a try?

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9 Comments

  1. Carol Anne Kuse

    I am hoping to try to organize, and the more I hear about “fresh start” it sound the more sensible. Now if I can just convince myself to actually do it.

  2. I use Ancestry.com and Roots Magic the same way. I usually keep my ancestry family tree public, unless I’m working on clues, and then I make it private while deciding if the clues have merit. I use RootsMagic and I keep that family tree only on my computer, to copy and share with family and distant cousins. The idea of a start over is a bit daunting. I’m going to focus on my grandparents’ grandparents this year.

    • NikiMarie

      My restart was something I had realized I had to do while at the NGS conference last year. The work was just too unorganized and I did have a few things that didn’t have sources connected to it. Thankfully, the majority of my work didn’t need anything to be done besides organization 🙂

  3. I’ve been following the “do over” at Geneabloggers and I get what he is trying to do. But in many ways, I’m not liking his method. I think it’s one of the reasons I stopped following the Organization for Genealogy FB page. Everyone has to find what works for them. For example, making holding folders on the computer is just another organization method that wouldn’t necessarily work for me. For me, it’s about what project am I going to write about now. When I am focused on one project, that’s when I start bringing everything together. It doesn’t make sense to start with my grandparents and work my way back if I’m going to write about a Revolutionary War ancestor. I have a private tree at ancestry that I use to link all the online records I have found to a person. It is very much a work in process and my storage for future writing projects. I definitely have stuff on my computer and and binders that need to be organized. And I do it when I have time. Sorry if I’m sounding negative. I just get frustrated by all the professionals that urge people to organize their way or try to teach people how to do it. 🙂

    • NikiMarie

      I completely agree with you! The organization system has to work for each individual person otherwise she’d never use it. This filing system works for me and I like it. It was how I started to file things when I first started to gather items so I just needed to clean it up a bit and move to a digital system as well (which is the same as my paper file for ease of use). I hated the clutter I had so this makes me feel better too. I hope I didn’t come across as urging people to organize my way! It is just my way and there are MANY out there, you just want to find something that you’d use and you’d like.

      • You definitely did not come off urging people to do it this way. I just feel comfortable adding my two cents to your discussion! 🙂 year or so ago, I believe I read an article which asked Dr. Tom Jones what software programs he used when he was writing. His answer was Microsoft word. He didn’t need any of the fancy programs like Evernote or Evidentia. People were shocked. I like his model and it works for me. When I start using all the other programs, it just becomes a time suck for me, and takes me away from the actual writing. And so you don’t think my organization is perfect, I have piles of stuff that I’m still trying to organize. 🙂

        • NikiMarie

          I hope you always feel comfortable to do add your two cents! I also agree with you and Tom Jones when it comes to writing programs – Word is probably all I’ll ever use. 🙂 And I would be amazed to find an genealogist who doesn’t have at least one pile of items that still need to be organized!

  4. Organize more yes I need to do that. I have made a real start in that regard. I need to organize my files and time so I can be more productive. However I am not even going to come close to a genealogy do over. Too much time, work, money has been spent to get me where I am now. I believe my system is as good as most and works for me. I am also sure of my findings and I do review them often.

    To answer your question on a fresh start I plan to start my family history book. This will of course call for a review of everything that will go into it. So that is my fresh start for the year. I think it will take me about 24 to 30 months to complete. I plan to put both mine and my wife’s family line in the book. We share common grandparents as we are 10th cousins.

    • NikiMarie

      I agree with not even coming close to a genealogy do over! For me, as I said, it’s more organization and cleaning up source citations. I wouldn’t dream of putting my work aside and doing it again!

      Good luck on your book! That sounds exciting and I hope to hear about updates!

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