Tag Archives: family historian

My genealogy to-do list for the week ahead (week 4)

24 Jan

Last week was spent engaged in sorting and organising digital files, and I must admit it has been quite rewarding. I did say I wasn’t going to do any new research, but of course that was impossible for me to achieve.

I have found the process of going through my files very helpful, I have so much information that I haven’t added to my database, some recent (like the 1911 census) and some which had been languishing on my hard drive for months.

As I entered the data it was hard not to try and fill in more details, so some more online searching was done (more 1911 census and recent GRO BMD indexes). Anything that couldn’t be answered quickly was put in a text file, which is quickly growing into a basic to-do list.

This week will probably be much the same as last week, no substantial new research, just working with what I already have.

  • Add all the information that I acquired at the West Sussex Record Office on Saturday to my spreadsheet and database.
  • Continue working through my digital files updating Family Historian and sorting out folders and standardising my filenames.
  • Create a research plan for Mercy TROWER. Consisting of a summary of what I already know, decide what I want to find out and what steps I need to take to achieve it.

My genealogy to-do list for the week ahead (week 3)

17 Jan

I have the feeling that I am achieving very little with my family history at the moment, and I am not really sure why. It could be because a large part of my time is spent looking for work, but I think there is another reason.

I am feeling rather unorganised at the moment. I don’t seem to have a clear idea of what I want to do with my genealogy, well that is not exactly true, I know what I want to achieve and know what I need to do to achieve it. The problem seems to be knowing where to start first.

It seems that everything I do creates more and more potential work for me, I knew a detailed look at the 1911 census would raise more questions, but the recently arrived birth, marriage and death certificates have also provided more questions than answers.

This week I need to sit down and get myself organised. I need to decide what are my main priorities and what I need to do to get as many loose ends tied up as possible, even if that just means recording what I want to do next and creating a big to do list.

  • I need to try and stop researching for a week and just focus on what I already have.
  • Create a simple to-do list and record everything I need or want to do for all my ancestors who are currently shouting for my attention.
  • Start working on my digital files, making sure everything is organised and entered into my Family Historian software.
  • Decide what my priorities are for my research and make sure nothing else is going to get in my way from achieving them.

Unless anyone releases any new databases online I should be able to avoid the distractions this week. The only other thing that might get in the way is a copy of the will of Mercy TROWER, that might arrive this week.

2010 to do list – create a proper to-do list

30 Dec

Between now and the new year I will be writing about some of the things I want to achieve with my family history in 2010.

I have attempted in the past to create an all encompassing to-do list, most of these attempts have either been far too simplistic or far too complicated.

The simple ones don’t hold enough detail, so for example they don’t make it easy for me to find all the things I have to find at a particular archive. The complex ones just take too long to update, so they generally don’t get updated often enough. What I need is something that is going to capture everything, quickly and easily.

I did have the idea of borrowing some ideas from David Allen’s Getting Things Done, where I would set a goal for each individual in my database, and deciding what the next step would be on the road to achieving that, and where I would need to be to carry out that step.

I thought this may be too complicated to track, but I did wonder if I might actually be able to create custom tags in my database which would hold the information within Family Historian itself. With a few reports I might be able to create a report of what to do at various archives or for a specific family name. It may however be simpler to keep this data in a separate spreadsheet, which could be filtered in many different ways.

At the moment I have gone back to a simple text file to capture everything (rather than risk losing the thing I have to do), which is much more portable than a spreadsheet or database, but not so easy to search. It is clearly something I am going to have to think about carefully before implementing any major changes.

2010 to do list – spring clean my database

28 Dec

Between now and the new year I will be writing about some of the things I want to achieve with my family history in 2010.

I did go through my database (Family Historian) earlier this year and clear up some loose ends, but as a result of the rush to get my family tree chart printed I have messed things up again.

It is not really messed up, just that I have a lot of loose ends that need further research which I didn’t have time to do.

Wives with no maiden names: Currently there are 21 women whose maiden names I do not know. A fair few of these are my 5x great-grandmothers, so it would be really good to find them. Along the same lines I also have a husband with no first name.

Orphans: I have a number of individuals and families who are not connected to the rest of my family tree, or rather where the connection is not known. These are mostly grandchildren of one of my ancestors, but the parents of the child is not known. There are a couple of families that are almost certainly related, they come from the same village and have the same surname as my ancestors, but again their exact connection is not known.

Missing parents: I have several individuals where the identity of one of the parents is not known. In many cases this is due to illegitimacy, and the identity may never be known, but in some cases it is just because one or other of the parents died early and doesn’t appear on a census return.

Living individuals: Now would be a good time to run through my database and make sure that all my ancestors and relations that are living are flagged as such, so their data is not shared.

Sanity checks: It would also be a good time to perform some sanity checks on my data, such as: age at marriage, age at death, duplicate children of the same name, correct gender based on first name. Of course there will be anomalies in the data, but once highlighted they can be checked on an individual basis.

Birth and death dates: As if that is not enough to keep me busy for the whole of 2010, I would also like to make sure everyone in my database has a birth date (estimated if needed) and any individual that is not marked as living should have a death date (again estimated if needed).

2010 to do list – sort my photos and postcards

26 Dec

Between now and the new year I will be writing about some of the things I want to achieve with my family history in 2010.

I have loads of photos on my hard drive and dozens of postcards, some of which have been scanned. However these photos and postcards are not really part of my family history yet, in their present state they add nothing to the story of my ancestors.

My photos can be broadly divided into two categories, old photos of people and modern photos of places and gravestones. The postcards add to this historic images of places. All of these images need to be integrated into Family Historian, to illustrate people, places, events and sources.

The first step is to sort all these images out into some sort of order and devise some logical file naming convention. Once they are sorted and in the correct folders I can start linking them into Family Historian in the relevant places, where they can be used to illustrate my family tree and its reports.

My family tree chart in print

21 Dec

Rather than missing out on getting my family tree in print and failing to complete my Christmas Tree Project I decided to get my chart printed today.

The printing of the chart was very easy, from Family Historian I created a pdf file of the chart. I selected a custom size for the pdf  (841mm x 3276mm) and copied the resulting pdf to a flash drive.

I took the flash drive along to Kall Kwik in Horsham, West Sussex. They weren’t sure it would work, they hadn’t printed such a large pdf before. But it did work, a the result was quite impressive.

The photos didn’t come out quite right, but they are good enough, the printer is only meant for printing plans and line drawings.

There are a couple of things I will change for the next one, the font size needs increasing and the thickness of the linking lines needs increasing.

Of course the chart will never be finished, there are several details I could add in terms of residence and occupation, and I know there are a few more photos I could add.

The cost of this chart (£8.00 plus VAT) was such that I can afford to get one done every month or so. I am not sure that I can add another generation to it, it might be possible, but the print size will have to be reduced or the amount of information reduced to fit it all in.

The only problem is what to do with it, we don’t have anywhere in our flat to actually put it on permanent display. The only way I could get a photo of it all was to lay it out along our hall floor.

My Christmas Tree

No genealogy again!

12 Dec

Today is the second Saturday in a row where I have not really done any family history work.

Today was mainly devoted to getting my new PC up and running, and this is the first post written using my (nearly) new PC and Windows Live Writer, which must mean that everything is working properly.

There wasn’t really any problem with installing everything, I have all the CDs and licences, but what was really time-consuming was getting everything set up just the way I like it.

Family Historian is the best example, there are so many different settings and customizations that you can do, it took forever to get it back to what I am used to.

Apart from removing a couple of bits from my old PC (the CD/DVD writer and USB expansion card) it is now sitting unwanted on the floor. I’m not sure what I will do with it, I am reluctant to throw it away, but I’m not sure anyone else would get any further use from it either.

I’ve just remembered one thing I haven’t plug in and installed yet, that is my printer/scanner/copier. I am hoping not to use the printer too much, but the scanner I couldn’t live without.

Perhaps once I have that up and running I can spend a bit of time on my family tree, on second thoughts, perhaps I have spent enough time on my various computers today.

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