Monday, 29 December 2014

Starting Over


 I am going to be joining with a number of like minded genealogists with a common goal.

Our main aim is to construct a family tree that is well documented and that we can leave for others to build upon, rather than something that has to be confirmed because the information required to support the tree has not been recorded or has been poorly documented.

So we are going to set out to ensure that the information we have has been fully evaluated and recorded so that others can follow what we have done and repeat the research if necessary.

In preparing for this I need to define some ground rules. 
This is my current list.
  • Organization of what I have already collected.

I have been trying to do something along this line for the last two years and have already started to reorganize how I store my digital information. I originally started this because I wanted to have my information stored on my computer in the same way I was trying to get my paper records and photographs organized. 
I have been trying to use a colour coding system similar to that described by Mary Hill, who did a Legacy Family Tree Webinar about this in April, the system Mary describes is supported by the Legacy 8 Software program.
  • Collecting information so that I can easily incorporate it into my system.
I have started using Evernote to collect information and I want to put this to more effective use so that it is easier to find digital information that I have collected. I have also used One Note and I need to evaluate whether I want to use this alongside Evernote.
With more use of devices such as my phone and tablet I have also been using Cloud storage systems. Do I use just one or several providers?

  • How do I record what I have found?
What software do I use to record what I have found? 
I have been a long term user of Family Historian
Do I stick with this or are there features of other programs that I would find useful? 
I have Family Tree Maker for syncing with my Ancestry trees and have just bought Legacy 8 to try out its citation capabilities and possibly other features.

  • How do I evaluate the information I have found?
I have Evidentia to help me analyse my sources which I intend to put to good use.

  • Where do I start my research?
Do I start by evaluating what I have? Yes

Some of the personal information I will not be able to reproduce, so I need to ensure it is fully and accurately recorded and evaluated.

I shall start as a newbie and gather together the information I have on close family members.

I need to build from a solid base ensuring that each source is a single entity and not a derivative of another source.

I will probably add to this list as the comments of others get me thinking.

As someone has already said I need to start as a beginner, but with the knowledge I have now, rather than the knowledge I had when I was starting my research.

One thing I have already done is set up a folder in my Google Drive for anything I think may help me with my decisions and implementation.

1 comment:

Rod Deller said...

As you probably know Hilary I started doing this exact topic some months ago. Still plodding along getting things done and organised. You definitely need a plan to start with and it is a slow process. However, whatever plan you devise make sure it works to your satisfaction! Do small mixed chunks of data, test filing and retrieval of specific data, refine as required. I have refined mine twice already.

Is key, but keep it simple.
No one system will cover all requirements.
I think 3 systems overall should cover all eventualities.
File naming, retrieval, analysing.

File naming:
I have opted to file on documentation type
Paper and digital should be the same.
Duplicate files: Don’t delete straight away – just rename with Z- as prefix.
File naming system needs to be informative and consistent. Mine has 4 elements.
Surname-Given name used is prime person in document.
No spaces in file name, I use dash ‘-‘ to separate each element.
For marriages only I use same 4 elements but employ double Surname and Given joined with plus ‘+’ sign.
Groom Surname+Bride Surname-Groom Given+Bride Given-Date-Event.
Use of *requireddata* in searches will find anything.

I intend to put all documentation/sources into Evernote.
Evennote Title naming is same as file naming system: Surname-Given-Date-Event.
I use drag and drop/folder system into so Evernote automatically places file name as title.
In Evernote I insert spaces in title as required and remove file extension.
Setting up Evernote for ease of retrieva is a subject on its own. Keep it simple.

One software package will not satisfy all your analytical requirements.
I have TMG, FTM, Legacy 8, Root Magic, Family Historian, Evidentia2, but find a spreadsheet very useful for analytical work.
I am currently extracting all names, addresses, locations, ages, birth places etc from all sources into a spreadsheet. This move has paid off already in finding ‘links’ missed first time round.
Once again setting up spreadsheet is trial-and-error. Do small batch of different source data into difference worksheets. Then move a row from each into one worksheet and adjust/insert columns as required to suit.
Break data down into separate columns to aid good data sorting.
For addresses use separate column for house No, street, parish, town, city, county.