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I need another to-do list

17 Feb

One of the outcomes of my visit to two archives last week was that I needed to tweak my to-do list a little bit, but more than that I decided to answer the question that I posed a few weeks ago.

I have decided to tackle my concern with the old IGI citations in two ways. My original intention had always been to replace these entries once I had viewed the original record, so I will bring that forward and view as many of the original records as I can. For any that I can’t access (those records physically further away) I will update the source to reflect the new FamilySearch website.

Whilst I am at it, it occurred to me that there are several other indexes and transcriptions that I have used in a similar manner as the IGI, in that they would do until I could view the original records and verify them. These are mostly from the wonderful indexes and transcriptions produced by the Sussex Family History Group and the Parish Register Transcription Society and shouldn’t be a problem to verify.

The problem has been that I haven’t really worried about doing it until now. In addition to my normal to-do list I now need to create a second list, the priorty is not so high (it is after all just going back over old ground) but every time I visit an archive I should be able to cross a few more off the list. Given that I have dates and places for all these records it should be very easy to find them.

Going forward I need to remember to keep adding new entries to this second list as and when I add a new citation for one of these indexes to my family tree.

My Genealogy Goals for 2010 – How did I do?

30 Dec

About this time last year I wrote a few blog posts about what I wanted to achieve in 2010 and as we are almost at the end of 2010 (and it is a bit late to do any more about it now) I thought I ought to face the music and see if I actually achieved anything I set out to do.

The first post was 2010 to do list – sort my photos and postcards in which I described my wish to get all my photos and postcards organised and integrated into my genealogy software Family Historian.

Pass or fail? Fail – my old photos are slightly more organised on my hard drive now and I now have a process in place for recording and scanning my postcards (but only as new ones arrive) but none of the photos or postcards have been added to Family Historian.

Next up was 2010 to do list – identify my photos and my desire to put some names to the many unidentified photos in my collection and if not names then at least some dates and places.

Pass or fail? Fail – I spent a couple of months looking at one photo, which I don’t think I ever wrote about and didn’t come to any real conclusions, and that was about it. If anything I have probably added more unidentified photos to my collection, although I did manage to discover the location of one postcard this year with the help of Google Street View.

Then was 2010 to do list – spring clean my database which described several goals that I wished to achieve when it came to my database. This was largely about tidying things up, checking for errors and filling in some missing details.

Pass or fail? Undecided – I am actually still working on this at the moment, progress is slow but I am getting there.

After that came 2010 to do list – what to do with wills? in which I described the problems I have with recording all the information that can be found in a will and how I intended to overcome this.

Pass or fail? Fail – Most of the wills I have in my collection have not been fully mined for data, usually I pick out the information that interests me (names of children) and then move on to something else.

With a little irony the next post was 2010 to do list – create a proper to-do list which described my plans to create a ‘super’ to-do list, which would record everything I wanted to do with my family history.

Pass or fail? Pass – I am still using a simple text file as my to-do list and to be honest I am finding this is perfectly adequate for my needs and so simple to use and update.

Then things got specific with 2010 to do list – some actual research goals which listed several of the individuals that I wanted to pursue in 2010, this was quite a mixed bag of relatives and ancestors, all of whom seem to have had an interesting story to tell.

Pass or fail? Fail – Although I did do some work on most of these individuals I never really followed any of these stories through to their conclusion.

Finally came My New Year’s Resolution itself, to start researching my wife’s Italian ancestry. Somewhat predictably this was a major fail. I did buy a book on researching Italian family history and a kit for learning some basic Italian, but these have sat on my shelf largely untouched all year, no progress whatsoever.

In 2011 I think I will keep things a little simpler and more achievable. Most of these goals from last year are still ones I would like to achieve in 2011, but above all I need to be realistic and recognise that I don’t have the time or money (but mostly time) to do everything I want to.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 52

26 Dec

Week 52 by my reckoning must mean we are at the end of the year. I think I will save my review of the year for next weekend, but this week I will have a look at how I failed to achieve any of the goals I set out at the beginning of the year, but try not to beat myself up too much about it!

I had hoped I could get down to some serious family history last week, but that didn’t really materialise. Like the week before, I did a lot of thinking about family history but never really got around to doing anything about it. I did get the death certificate for John FAIRS ordered and received it by the end of the week, but that was about the limit of my family history.

Much of my thinking has been around what I am doing next and in the future. At the moment my research is lacking focus, I am really only working on one project at the moment (the housekeeping of my database) and that is not particularly exciting at the moment. My to-do list is growing, but I am not getting chance to explore much further. I feel I should be digging deeper and making opportunities to do more research.

This week, as well as looking back, I need to decide what I am going to try to accomplish in 2011. One plan has already had to be set back because Carlisle Record Office is now due to open in April next year, not January. I think my plan will be to continue with my housekeeping and see where that leads, but try to schedule in at least one day a month to visit an archive and clear some items off my to-do list.

With a couple of days off this week I hope I can get some more research done, but in reality I ought to be spending a large proportion of that time sorting out other non-genealogy stuff, but I will see how it goes.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 51

19 Dec

Virtually no family history took place last week, I spent quite a bit of time thinking about family history but did really get down to doing much work.

Really the only bit of work I did was on the LEWRY family of Bolney, Sussex investigating the relationship to a probable new distant cousin, who contacted me. The good news is that we are all most certainly related (probably 5th cousins) but I don’t have enough evidence to hand to prove it conclusively. This week I will try to get together the evidence I do have and put together a reasonable argument for the relationship.

I did spend a little time on the housekeeping of my database, looking to fill in some gaps on the first two wives of Thomas KINGHORN, but didn’t really spend much time on them. I found a couple of records on the Ancestry.co.uk London Parish Register Collections, but haven’t saved them yet or entered the details in my database. It must try to do that this week.

As everyone was talking about it I thought I ought to take a look at the new familysearch website, but having previously checked out the pilot/beta versions of the site I didn’t really spend much time there. I will probably write-up my thoughts in a blog post this week. It will probably prove useful in the future, but at the moment it doesn’t seem to have the content I need, nor do I have the time to investigate the site fully at the moment.

I am going to have to blame Christmas and the cold weather for my lack of family history research this week. With most of my Christmas preparations sorted out now I hope that I can get back down to some family history this week. I also want to try put together a couple of new pages on my blog both of which will act as an index, one for my ancestral profile posts and the other for the sections of the two long distance paths I have walked (the South Downs Way and Capital Ring).

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 50

12 Dec

It was a very disappointing week for family history last week, I think perhaps I have just been a bit too lazy for my own good, although the run up to Christmas doesn’t really help either. I achieved very little this week in the way of actual research and not much housekeeping either.

All the stuff that I wrote about last week (the KIPPS and KINGHORN families) didn’t get finished off and there was no new work on either of those branches. I was hoping to finish off those lines (to a reasonable level) and carry on with my housekeeping, but that never happened. I will try again this week, I really need to concentrate on the KINGHORNs of Carlisle otherwise I wont be ready to go up there and research them next year.

On the housekeeping side of things I didn’t progress much further, perhaps another two or three individuals. I think now I am scared about the size of my to-do list! It is getting to a state where it looks like it will be almost impossible to complete it all within my lifetime, and I shall soon have to start prioritising which items I really want to work on.

I did try to put some work in on George MITCHELL, but have struggled to find much information about the London to Brighton Railway (and specifically its engines) online and after some preliminary work in the catalogues it looks like I might be out of luck when it comes to finding information on his widow and some form of poor relief. I wont give up hope yet, but it doesn’t look promising.

So what do I realistically expect to achieve this week? I think I shall be setting the bar low this week, so I have a good chance of achieving something I set out to do. I will probably work on a few more individuals, tidying up their records and adding more to-do items. I want to do a bit more work on the ANSCOMBE family, now that I have their entry in the 1911 census to work with, but I think I am going to be running short of time again this week.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 48

28 Nov

I hadn’t expected last week to be quite rewarding. I have decided to concentrate most my efforts of some housekeeping of my family history, and it has proved to be rewarding and enjoyable.

It is also taking quite a long time. So far I have been through the first eight individuals (in numerical order) in my database and updated as much as I could, some of the information I updated related to other individuals, but the core of the work was on those eight people. At that rate it will be nearly four years before I have revisited every individual in my database, so I may have re-think the strategy, and that doesn’t take into account that these individuals were pretty well documented already and that I have added a load more stuff to my to-do list in the process.

I do think it is worthwhile however, it has spotlighted lots of work I still need to do and thrown up lots of interesting questions such as when did someone move, or what was the relationship of the witnesses at their wedding. It has certainly guaranteed that I am never going to be short of things to do, my to-do list grew by over twenty items during the week, even though I know some of those items are unlikely to be cleared for years to come.

It has also forced me to make some decisions on how I record things in my database. I use Family Historian and it is just too flexible for someone like me who can’t decide where things should be recorded and how I want things to show up on the many different reports.

There was really only one major discovery, the whereabouts of my 2x great-aunt Ethel Mary TROWER in the 1911 census had eluded me until this week. I guess I hadn’t spent a lot of time searching until now because I was surprised how easy it was to find her in the end. She turned up in Henfield, Sussex working as a domestic servant at a house called Terrys Cross (which is now a retirement home). I have passed it many times on the bus and it is nice to know there is a family connection with it.

It hasn’t been all about housekeeping this week. I did order the death certificate for Margaret KINGHORN (who I wrote about last Monday) last weekend, which arrived at the end of the week and has provided a few more hard facts about her life. I still need to do more work on my Carlisle relations and pull together as many more hard facts as I can before I think about paying their archives a visit next year.

This week will be much of the same, I probably need to try and speed up a little (or a lot) but it is really proving to be very worthwhile. The other advantage is that I can do it pretty much anywhere with my netbook, whether I am waiting at the station, sitting on the train or whilst on my lunch break, and a lot of the time I don’t even need an internet connection.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 47

21 Nov

I am quite pleased with what I achieved last week, despite being away from home for a large part of it. I have got rid of a whole load of photocopies because they are now scanned and transcribed, plus I have worked through a few older ones that I have been hanging on to for too long.

This time last year I was in the middle of my Christmas Tree Project, trying to find all my ancestors back to my 4x great-grandparents and getting a chart printed before Christmas. This year in the run up to Christmas I will be taking things a lot easier, partly because I don’t have the time to do all the rushing about.

In the coming weeks I intend to focus on sorting out the last remaining bits of paper I have hanging around, doing a quick scan through my hard drive just to make sure everything is still in order and then settling down to do some housekeeping on my database.

I envisage the housekeeping part of this to consist of checking each individual in my database for the key bits of information: birth, baptism, marriage, death, burial, census, military service, probate. A lot of new records have been released online this year and I need to spend some time bringing everyone up to date.

Some of this information I can update straight away, like the census, but others will need to be put on my to-do list for the next time I visit a particular archive or record office. I am not sure if this is an achievable task within the next few weeks, but it doesn’t really matter if it isn’t because it can carry on into next year.

Apart from that, I need to start casting my eyes towards Carlisle again and the KINGHORN family. I had planned to visit the Carlisle Record Office this year, but it closed earlier in the year whilst it was being relocated. It is due to re-open in January 2011 and I hope to get up there for a few days when it does. I have no idea if it is going according to schedule, but for my part I need to start thinking about what research I want to do when I finally get there.

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