Sunday, February 15, 2015

My Boring Adventures in Week 6 of the Genealogy Do-Over

End of Week 6 and I’m late with my blog. This has been a strange week; so strange that it feels as though there is nothing to report. Partly this is because I reported on my two most important achievements on the Genealogy Do-Over page as soon as they happened.

Goal one for week 6 was Evaluating Evidence. Because one of my personal goals is to become more skillful in using Evidentia, I used that program to analyze the information I had gathered for the first two proof points I had set for my personal entry (presence) in my Genealogy Software. I feel (as I have done from first using Evidentia) that entering information from a source into the Evidentia Claims forms encourages me to notice every pertinent piece of information that that document contains. It is easy to assign the information to each person mentioned in that document and to keep the information on hold for people who are not currently the persons of interest in my genealogical research. I expect that one particular record in the 1930 census and one particular record in the 1940 census will not need to be visited by me again. It’s all saved to Evidentia.

The 1940 census had an entry for my father that I didn’t understand. I searched the internet for an explanation. I found a government explanation of that census which not only explained that entry, but also gave me the information that the respondent to that census is no longer anonymous! (BUT I failed to make note of this site, so my research log is missing some vital information! Two pluses and one BIG minus!).

Goal two for week 6 was to look into online education for Genealogists. I have saved Thomas’ list for further careful scrutiny. I am already familiar with DearMYRTLE’s hangouts, with various webinars (and with the weekly webinar listing), and — of course — with this Genealogy Do-Over.

I’m no longer young; if I’m to get the most out of this learning period, I must (mostly) limit my learning to one area at a time. This week’s study overlapped the activities at RootsTech. I did look into some of the recorded live-stream sessions and I did learn from them. But I did limit myself.

In addition to the specific goals of the week, I have been reporting on various connected activities — all those related goals that I have developed as I worked with Thomas' weekly goals. I report them here to record my progress — a sort of "carrot on the stick" to keep me working on these less exciting but very productive goals.

The first of these activities was reported on the Genealogy Do-Over, the day I had this “adventure.” Because there are readers of this blog who never see the posts on the Facebook page, I have copied that report to this blog. This copied report will also freeze this experience in a more nearly permanent medium than Facebook. So — on to my adventures in searching Newspapers:

February 11, 2015. Columbia, Missouri, where I live, is home to the State Historical Society of Missouri, a document archive of great importance to Missouri research; it features reels and reels of microfilm images from historic newspapers throughout the state. Life gets in the way and we seldom go to this repository. But today we had a successful foray (with what are so-far negative results).

My husband and I each took a reel from one of the newspapers for the same week (which we thought was the appropriate week). In reality, much of our time at the library was spent in learning how to handle the state-of-the-art microfilm readers. (These readers will scan your selected newspaper item to a printer or to a thumb drive.) We needed to learn at what size we should scan in order to locate the pertinent information; we needed to learn how to use the thumb drive on these particular machines; we even needed to learn how to shut down when we were through. We did manage to scan ten days of newspaper coverage from two separate papers. Bob worked on the morning paper, and I worked on the evening one. These were not the days which carried the information we were looking for.

I did not attempt to take along a research log of any type. Instead, using sheets from a small notebook, I wrote down specific research goals (year, target day, event, and appropriate papers). On each sheet we recorded the reel number of the film we researched plus the results of this search. (Small notebook pages fit the workspace at the library better than a printout of a spreadsheet form.) I can now transfer this information to my research log.

And this is where the BSOs come in. You can guess the temptation to stop scanning the pages because the newspaper is showing ads for women's expensive dress shoes at $5 to $6 a pair, for a tenderloin roast at 44¢ a pound. Or to learn that a business building which seemed to have been there forever was turned into a business office only two years before I was born. I learned to keep going. I think someday I'm going to go there and just read and capture the BSOs to use as local color. (When my proof points for this time have been documented, and I'm writing the family story. They wouldn't be BSO's then, they would be background color!)

If you have a similar library near you, I highly recommend that you go there for researching newspaper articles. But BEWARE the Bright Shiny Objects.!

I have continued to chip away at the immense, vastly disorganized folder on my computer called "Genealogyƒ." It isn’t much, but I have re-filed or discarded 43 items, going from 2,354 items at the end of last week to 2,311 at the end of this week. As I said at the start of this task, it may take me more than a year, but, by documenting these small gains, I can encourage myself to continue chipping away. 

At this point, I would like to stop and remind my readers that reorganization such as this task is not always a simple task, nor a straight forward task.This folder got into this mess because I didn’t take time to evaluate the filed item as to its purpose in my collection of genealogical information. Instead, I just shoved it into this folder under some-sort of name and into some-sort of subfolder. If I repeat this process, my new organization will also fail as organization. So among these 43 items are some items that sat in front of me for 6 to 24 hours while I considered why I had saved it, why I wished to keep it, and where I would look for it when I wished to restudy the information. I’m trying to take this slowly and to get it right this time.

In spite of my earlier reported failure to make a needed entry into my research log, my revised research logs are working well. Last week, I mentioned the enormously useful information Stacy Weaver gave us when she shared her Ancestor Profile form. I haven’t integrated her insights into my logs at this point. It may take a long time to make this “my own.” I have found a way to keep this information at my fingertips as I work on my log. And, again, thank you Stacy. Working with your ideas is sharpening my focus.

And finally, Evidence Explained; I have continued to work on truly assimilating the ideas discussed in Chapter 1. I am happy to report that in the first area of Chapter 1, there are now only two more numbered items to go. Again, I have no time goal; haste makes waste. It doesn’t matter how long it takes me to understand a numbered item. As long as I study a minimum of one item each week, I will make progress. here. 

So, thus ends my story of week 6. A strange week, but a fruitful one, taken all-in-all.

No comments:

Post a Comment