Monday, July 31, 2017

Musing and Lessons from the July tasks for Genealogy Do-Over 2017

I began the 2017 Genealogy Do-Over with discussions of how to handle genealogy work when chronic illness strikes. My next tasks were organizing the information I currently hold on the direct lines in my three trees and in synchronizing that data between two databases. I also initiated some plans to ensure that my jobs: consistency checks; research; reentering older research; and learning tasks would continue to advance in an orderly manner.

This month these techniques have continued to work fairly well. The last two weeks in July were plagued by those allergy attacks. Some days I have slept almost all the time; on those days all I managed was a simple consistency check. On other days, I could work, but I couldn't concentrate; some jobs were just too large. On those days I would stop working on the "difficult" jobs and turn to simpler jobs. Some days I was limited to questions and answers on the internet (some of my learning tasks are solved by consulting one of the genealogy orientated groups on Facebook, for example). In this way I have managed to achieve at least one of my stated objectives on almost every working day; and I was able to turn most days into a working day.

Some of my learnings have been surprising. I discovered that I was using my rotation checklist as my To-Do list. The rotation list was developed as a check list, to ensure that I keep tasks going in as even a manner as possible. It became a ToDo list because it was easier for me to reach it on my computer. I feel my To-Do list should have consist of stated goals as to where I am going and what I hope to accomplish, and that the check list should simply keep those goals proceeding in a timely manner. It has become my habit to make a running comment on what I am doing as I work with the check list. As a temporary notation, this is fine. But each day, I need to transfer the comments to the relevant research log. After all, that is why we have research logs.

Since my very earliest work in genealogy, I have tried to keep research logs. I understand why they exist. But I fail to find a form that fits my personal working habits. This is another example of that problem. This morning I began an attempt to fix this situation. Today has been one of those "difficult jobs" days; I didn't get very far today. But I will continue to work with this until I manage to understand how to make this work. I have been "misusing" my checklist; but, on the affirmative side, I do have data that can be moved to the appropriate spots of my genealogy files, and I have recognized a problem and have started to work with it.

When a blogged about where I was planning to go in July, I assumed that I would return to "keeping up" with the Genealogy Do-Over assignments; that didn't happen. My DoOver notebook (which contains Thomas's monthly suggestions, various teaching materials that support those suggestions, and my related blogs — and sometimes Facebook discussions from the Do-Over group there) is up-to-date and in proper order. It remains a good source for quick review of learning goals and learning plans and achievements.

But I find that I haven't touched the June and July goals; I am still actively setting up my Research Toolbox, an assignment from May. (I know that a Toolbox is never static; some links will prove unhelpful and will be discarded; new links will be found and added. But something fairly comprehensive must be set up before I even have a Research Toolbox.)

WHEN I achieve goals isn't important to me. But I have been attempting to keep my early month and end-of-month blogs in step with the assignments of the month. That is no longer my blogging goal. I will continue with the two blogs a month entries, recording my monthly progress; but I will no longer be concerned with keeping up. I will take all the time I need on an assignment, before I move on the the next one.

My active research goals show the least advancement. I believe that this will usually be the case. The physical search of my house has been stalled because of allergies. I have emptied the four file drawers I mentioned in an earlier blog, but have not yet finished disposing of their content. My next step will be to expand the search to some recycled legal-size hanging file folder boxes and the the many "look at these later" plastic bags in hidden corners of the house. My query about a possible cradle-roll connection to the Methodist church is waiting for an answer. (I will give them a slightly longer curtesy wait, before I attempt to convince them that I am asking serious questions.)

I did use an "easy access" tool which found some new documentation for my children's father. Using the hints at Ancestry led me to some documents I hadn't known about. This not only allowed me to add some information to Joe's profile, it provided some new search locations to be added to my Research Toolbox.

Although I'm "stuck" in months five and six, all in all, I feel that month seven has been pretty productive.