Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy 4th Quarter 2011! - My (Continuing) New Year's Resolutions

I am closing in on the final quarter of the year (almost finished with this year-long organization project!!).  As the weather turns crisp and Autumn is in full swing, I am indoors more and it is time to focus on indoor activities.  Now is the perfect time to finish that paper organization, spend a few hours at the local library or archives, and plan those Thanksgiving and Christmas cards.  I am also wondering if there any way I can interest my extended family in a bit of our family history? 

In that spirit and with a little toasty warm mead to inspire me, these are my goals for the fourth quarter of 2011 ~

  1. I resolve to send out my "October is Family History Month" letter to my extended family and ask them to take a look at their immediate family's group sheet and provide me with corrections and additions. I will find one member of each affiliated family who will be my go-between or family resource for additional research.
  2. I resolve to transcribe the student stories I acquired while in Newfoundland so that I have a better understanding of the life and times of those in the Bonavista Bay region.  I will share the Christmas traditions in Newfoundland in my Christmas Card blog.
  3. I resolve to continue to work smarter, not harder, in 2011 ~~
    • Plan - In light of the results of my previous research plans, I need to decide where my my research focus should be and chart the next three months of my research plan (a bit like a treasure hunt) ~ I continue to use my Legacy program and GenSmarts program for research guidance.
    • Document - Using a research log has almost become second nature to me.  I use a combination of paper (which I scan into my computer) and  my computer research log which works perfectly for me!
    • Source - Sourcing continues to be an ongoing process.  I enter the source citation at the beginning of my review of any item (film, book, newspaper, etc.) as this really makes me stop and think about the source - how it should look, how it came about, where it might lead me, and the weight to place on it.  Evidence Explained and are my go to citation bibles. It takes time (sometimes I have to spend some serious thinking skills working through a source) and it is not the "fun part" of genealogy.  I have found getting my sources right the first time is the mandatory part of this process and it makes me a better and more thorough researcher. 
    • Location - I make a point of checking out the repository at the beginning of my research visit.  If I am going to a library or other research facility, I make a note of their webpage, their online (or in person) card catalog, I cite to the repository as a location in my genealogy database and I make sure to include all those notes in my Legacy program. In the future, I know where I got the information from, something about the repository, and I have a ready reference.
    • Quality Control - This is another ongoing process! I have made myself a checklist for quality control.  This checklist helps me cut down on errors and I have learned that by giving myself a half hour at the end of the research day (and before the repository closes) I am able to process my work and know that I won't be asking myself those embarrassing questions later - What is this? Where did I get it? Why did I copy, scan or note this? Which individual in my tree does this go with?
    • Data Entry – I have to continually remember to pull back from the "thrill of the hunt" and enter the information into my databases.  This means entering it into my Legacy program, my Excel worksheets, my Creative Memories Memory Manager program and filing the paper copies and computer copies as appropriate.
    • Protect – Backing up my computer continues to be the single most important thing I can do on a regular basis to protect my work.  It has become a good habit and second nature to me.  I back up my genealogy files every week - Sundays at 8:00 am, no fail. I have heard too many horror stories of years of research that has been lost because of this one simple mistake. 
  4. Most importantly, I resolve to keep a positive attitude, be ready to learn and ready to help others both in my genealogy life and my real life. 

So, as we head into the last quarter of the year, how are you doing with your genealogy resolutions and what goals have you reached this year?

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