Tag Archives: decision

… and whilst we are on the subject, where do I get my indecisiveness from?

22 May

Why do I find it so hard to make a decision? Is it something I inherited from one of my ancestors? If so, which one?

All of these questions crossed my mind as I tried to decide what I was going to do today. In truth I had known that I had to make a decision for several days, but had been putting it off.

My two options for today were walking another section of the South Downs Way or going to the postcard fair at Woking, Surrey. There were of course other options, such as staying at home and doing nothing, but I had at least narrowed it down to these two possibilities.

I could always toss a coin for it, but the logical side of me thinks that I should be able to make the decision without using luck. The problem is that although I can see all the advantages and disadvantages for each of the options, it still doesn’t help me make up my mind either way.

So it makes me wonder, did my ancestors have the any difficultly making decisions? If I had a time machine would I be able to go back and find my ancestors sitting on the fence?

Their decisions probably wouldn’t have been quite so trivial as mine, but is indecisiveness something that gets passed down through the generations, or something you learn from those around you?

How far do you go?

19 Jan

As I have been trying to go through my files and tidy up my database I have run into the old question that has bugged me on and off for many years. Just how far do I go with my research?

Really what I am talking about is how much research to I do on a family that is only linked by marriage to one of my relations. One example is the family of Herbert Ebenezer BARRETT.

My 2x great-aunt Ethel Mary TROWER married Herbert Ebenezer BARRETT in 1925 and they had one child. Now I am happy researching the lives of both Ethel and Herbert and their child (and any descendants from that child), but how far do I go back the other way.

It goes without saying that I should trace the TROWER family, because that is the line that I am descended from, but what about the BARRETT family?

I can’t see any justification for going back beyond Herbert’s parents, unless there is something someone particularly wants to know, for instance if I was to make contact with a descendant of Herbert and Ethel and they asked me to find out more about the other side of the family.

Whilst I can see some justification in researching the parents and siblings of Herbert, I can’t see any point in adding all their details to my database. I could quite easily add another nine names to my family tree (two parents and seven siblings) but that is just making more work and leaving more loose ends that need tying up.

So I have decided (yes, I made a decision for once in my life!) I need to get some discipline into my tree and cut down the amount of work I have to do, so from now on I am going to include only the spouse as an actual individual in my family tree, unless there is very good reason, and the only examples I can think of are:

  1. A famous or noteworthy sibling or parent (purely for bragging rights)
  2. Where there was some recorded interaction between the siblings or parents (possibly other relations) after marriage (such as living with them during the census).
  3. Where another sibling of the spouse married another of my relations (for instance if Herbert’s sister had married one of Ethel’s brothers), where adding parents and siblings to my tree will show the relationship between the two couples clearer.

All the other information that I gather as a result of my research into the spouse of my relation (such as who his siblings were and where his parent’s lived and what they did for a living) will be recorded as a note with the spouse in my database, should I ever need to go back to it and follow it up.

By defining some ground rules and sticking to them (examples one and two above are vague enough to allow some flexibility) should reduce the amount of work and save me worrying too much about how much work I should be doing.

My questions to you are: What rules do you use when deciding who to research? Can you see any potential flaws in my rules? Let me know in the comments section below.

Do you have a netbook? If so, what do you use it for?

28 Jul

I have been considering getting a netbook for quite a while now, and finally at the end of this month I will have the money to do so. Now is the moment I have been dreading, decision time.

I think it will be a great asset, it will be a useful tool for my family history research (and blogging) but the problem is that it is not essential for what I do. Sure it will probably make my life easier, but do I really need it?

There are lots of things I could use it for, the main one is probably for note taking at archives or libraries, but several other uses have come to mind as I wrestle with whether to buy or not.

  • I would like to use it as a temporary digital photo album. In connection with my external hard drive I could use it to share my digital photos, and especially my family history photos, where I can also use it to capture memories and additional information.
  • I love the idea of being able to blog and check email while I am away from home, perhaps even when I am out walking.
  • I would love to have access to the internet when I am out and about, so I can check train times, ending eBay auctions etc.
  • I want to have something else to do on the bus going to and from work. Just think how much work I could get done in that half hour each way.
  • With a small scanner I can take it with me when visiting family members as a portable scanning unit for photos and documents.
  • Of course I would have my family history loaded on there so I can show everyone and anyone my family tree at the drop of a hat.

But still at the back of my mind is the nagging fact that I don’t actually need it, it is more of a convenience rather than a necessity.

So if you have a netbook please let me know in the comments what you use it for? What interesting ways have you found to use it in your research? I need all the help I can get to convince myself that I should have one.

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