Saturday, April 8, 2017

Examining Month Four

  • So here I am with my monthly musing about the Go-Over assignments for Month 4:

    Assignment 1: Tracking Research: If you have never used a research log before, consider using the format above or creating your own. Another option is to see if your preferred genealogy database software has a way of tracking research; some have a To Do List option, others have something similar to a Research Log.

    I have mentioned my narrative style log several times this year in various discussion in the Facebook Do-Over group. Each time I say that I emphatically DO NOT recommend it for others. It is complicated and cumbersome; but it satisfies some internal need for me and it frees me to concentrate on research.

    The template for this log has been on my computer since 2015. It has continued to work well for  me. I expect that, with continuing refinements, this will be the style of log that I follow for the rest of my life in genealogy.

    Assignment 2: Conducting Research: With your current research, start with yourself. Check to see that all information is accurate, based on your self interview, and make sure each point of data can be tied to at least one record. If something is missing a corresponding record — like a birth location — then mark it as "unsourced" and add it to your To Do List for further research.

    As I have discussed before, I am not doing research at this time; instead I am reorganizing my present research and making my discoveries clear so that my heirs will receive organized findings, instead of the electronic version of those cardboard boxes found in the attic. As I review my research, I do take note of any unsourced findings, and transfer those missing-source areas to the appropriate research log.
  • To accomplish this organization I created three new logs, based loosely on my research log template. I have been adjusting these new logs throughout my work in March and continuing through the first week in April.

  • This journey through reorganization has helped me to understand something about myself. I have always known that I tend to obsess over details. In my professional life as a copy editor, this trait was a strength. A copy editor's job is just that: keeping track of galleys, art, author discussions; observing deadlines; and ensuring that it all comes together. Thirty-plus years at that job has strengthened my habit of listing step-by-step processes and turning them into check lists. Thus my natural trait has been reinforced by on-the-job-training.

  • The reorganization logs are set up so that each log has a checklist of procedures that I use to ensure that the data for each person on my tree has been properly organized. I actually add a checkmark and a date at the end of each procedure when I have accomplished a task.

  • Below the work area on these logs is a diary area where I record what I have accomplished for each individual. At first this area was a repeat (a cut-and-paste type of repetition) of the check list. Soon I realized that such an exact repetition is unnecessary. Instead I now have a summation that states that I followed all the steps for Person xy and have completed the work by such-and-such a date.

  • I have somewhat complicated this process by choosing to compare four database software programs. I had been somewhat unhappy with the program I've been using for 9 years, so I decided to compare it with three other programs. (I  usually use a main program and an auxiliary program in order to widen my reporting options). During my first three months of working with the Genealogy Do-Over, I have eliminated one of the three programs from my list.

  • The name of the program that I eliminated isn't important; the problem with it is that this program doesn't work well with me. I want to do things this this way; the program does them that way. There is no one true way to do things; but a user and a program should mesh, not live in conflict. That program is no longer on my check list.

  • The one process that I thoroughly liked about the discarded program was its source template. In fact, I liked this template so much that I added the fields I hadn't been using to my own program(s), choosing my order of entry. Source work will be easier from now on and so will database synching.

  • In March I worked on Person 1 (me) across the four databases. I also worked on developing my working procedures for the reorganization tasks, as mentioned above. This work includes developing and indexing the Dollarhide numbering system and applying the Dollarhide numbers to each person on my tree. I am also developing and Index/listing of all the sources I use and all the usages of each source, from sources with a single attachment to sources with more than 100 attachments. It took me a month, but I got it all done. I signed off on the work for Carolin [Carolyn] Sue Strickler (Dollarhide 5./0) as of 31 March 2017.

  • Work on Joseph Walter Watson (Dollarhide 6.0) {my first husband} started 1 April 2017. I signed off on Joe on 7 April, 2017.

  • Work on Joe took 1/4 of the time I spent on me? I think that shows that the time spend on developing  the processes has paid off. It is true that I know more about me than about anyone else on the tree, so his entry will be shorter. But, when I went through Joe's database entries, I knew what my tasks were and I knew where the information was to be stored.

  • My work during 2015 on the Do-Over assignments for Month 4 has transferred very nicely into my plans for achieving my new task. And my development work in March was successful. I am now ready to tackle Robert Francis McCormick (Dollarhide 4.0) (my current husband}.