Friday, March 13, 2015

Week 10: Exciting? no; Productive? YES!

I am still coping with the annoying medicine, so I have been very slow in everything I do this week. Cheer-up folks (including me): tomorrow is the last dose, so I will probably never refer to the medicine again (unless I decide to report on its final effectiveness). 

This week has been so overtly uneventful, that I was tempted to skip my report. When I started blogging about the Do Over, I thought I would be recording a weekly diary of my work. As we come close to the end of the official course, that continues to seem like a good idea. So I did talk myself into this week’s issue.

Goal 1: Reviewing DNA Testings: Both Bob and I have had DNA tests made and have spent some time in trying to understand the reports. Bob has had Y-DNA, mtDNA, and Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder test (we don’t have the results of that one yet). Being female, I have had only the mtDNA and the Family Finder. I really didn’t do anything about this part of my activities this week, but reports continue to come in, so I have constant reminders. I will pursue this. (And probably be active in the Facebook Do-Over group asking questions.)

Goal 2: Organizing Digital Files: I’m one of the people here who discussed this issue well before Week 1. At that point in time I set up a new-to-me narrative-style research log which is combined with a research plan. I also refined two databases which I had originally prepared for my previous work. They now track my current Do-Over research. One of these databases acts as an index to entries in my basic software program and also in my log; the other is my ToDo List. The narrative-style log is still rather cumbersome, but it is working well enough;  I almost never forget to use it — and when I do forget, something reminds me and I can go back and fix the “forget" before I lose track of the activity. I am sure that the more I work with this, the more efficient the log will become. But during these 10 weeks I have achieved a system that tracks where I have been and what I have found and is combined with plans for were to look next; and all of this information is organized by a list of proof points. This is more organization than I had previously achieved in seven years of doing genealogy.

As to the rest of the digital files, they are slowly being searched for, relabeled, and stored in Dropbox. As each file is found, it is being saved twice — once in Dropbox, and once on a backup hard disk through the Apple Time Machine program. And if the file is anywhere on my computer, it is being backed up by Time Machine, even if I haven’t located the file at this time. This task isn’t completed, but I am on track here, clearing up at least one document a week and usually more than one.

What I Achieved This Week: My newly building database in my core software program is very small as of today: only 23 people. As I have mentioned earlier I am tracing the pedigrees of three home people: me, my first husband (who is the father of my children), and my present husband (who has been a member of the family more actively and for a longer period of time that my first husband). So the 23 people are the three “home people," their parents, and the grandparents of the home people. No siblings have been added as yet, and no great-grandparents of the home people. (Although some of those not-entered names show up on census reports; those names appear in my Evidentia files because why enter only partial data from a source? And one or two extra families {collateral research and/or cluster research} have also been added to Evidentia or mentioned in my To Do lists as possible lines.)

I am slowly, one-person-at-a-time, preparing the narrative research logs for each of those 23 people. And as I work with each name, I also try to provide some research (with citations) on what is to me Proof Point one for each person on my tree — “What is the birth date of (name of person being researched)? Without reasonable proof of the birth data, the researcher will never be sure if the Sue or the Robert or the Joe {surnames} are truly the persons you are trying to research. And when the surnames of those three home people are Strickler, Watson, and McCormick respectively, you can see that even when I personally know on what day those birthdays are/were celebrated, I am going to run into many similar names. (You can also see that I have become more anonymous with each marriage!)

Stacy Weaver posted on the Genealogy Do-Over page a form that lists resources which may provide answer sources for many of the proof points we need to research. As I looked over the list in connection with one of the mothers in the three lines, I realized that I had never finished the search for her baptismal records. Oh, LOOK, the next church to ask is an active church! O-o-h, look, the church is on Facebook! A query on Facebook gave me contact information; an email got me a response within the week. Answers with information for 5 different people. Only one of these is one of the 23, but I know I need this information. So the data is entered in the dropbox files (with the double backup in place) and pointed to by the Index and To-Do databases. All in place ready to be used when I get to those names. None of these 5 people is the mother for whom I was searching? A negative answer is still an answer. I know of another church, and yes, that church is also on the internet and on Facebook, and I have contact information.

Week 10 ends with improved organization, several census records entered into Evidentia where they will become part of future proof statements regarding the birth of some of those 23 people (and of other family members who will be added when I get to them). And I have another place to contact for more information.

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