I have been taking a bit of a break from Finding Minnie and Patrick Vaughan whilst I get a bit of family history housekeeping done. Now it is the turn of Patrick Vaughan to be on the receiving end of that housekeeping.
If I am ever going to move forward with my research on Patrick and Kate Vaughan then I really need to get all the material that I already have into some sort of order.
I have gathered quite a lot of information from Ireland, Scotland and Canada like passenger lists, census returns, marriages and baptisms, but I haven’t actually input them into my family tree yet.
This week I am going to concentrate on Patrick Vaughan get everything sorted and updated. That means:
- Setting up dedicated sub-folders for digital image downloads
- Making sure all the digital images are correctly named and in the correct sub-folders
- Making sure all the information is entered into my family tree
As well as needing to make sure I have solid foundations to move forward I also want to be able to tell the story of Patrick’s life before he married my 2x great-aunt, hopefully system generated reports will provide the framework for this.
Last weekend I spent the best part of a day organising stuff, not family history stuff this time, but the normal everyday stuff. Filing bank statements and bills, shredding junk mail and all sorts of other fun stuff, basically just clearing the everyday detritus that had gathered on my desk.
I am still having problems finding time for family history research and this is one of my strategies for trying to overcome these problems. Not only do I want to try to free up more time for family history but I also want time for other stuff like walking.
I like to think that my family history is pretty well organised and I like to think that when I sit down to do some research I am working quite efficiently. The problem comes in actually sitting down to do some research.
When I sat down at my desk I was confronted with a pile of paper that I knew I needed to sort out, but that prospect was not very appealing. But it needing sorting out before I did any family history, but rather than get it sorted I would procrastinate and get distracted by other things, anything other than do the filing.
It didn’t help that there was also an assortment of bits and pieces sitting on the desk, which were very easy to pick up and fiddle with. Again anything rather than do any filing and sort out that stuff.
Now I have an almost clear desktop and that pile of paper has gone, it feels very liberating and at the moment I am going to try to keep it that way. There is still some more tweaking that needs doing, there are still several piles of clutter in the spare-bedroom that I need to sort out but they are on the dressing table behind me and out of sight so they are not so much of a problem.
I have removed many digital distractions from my life over the past couple of years, like quitting Facebook and unsubscribing from numerous emails that I didn’t really read and this weekend I cleared a lot of the physical distractions. Whether this have a positive effect on the amount of family history I can do remains to be seen, but for now I am really enjoying my clear desk policy.
Several weeks ago I commented on the fact that I still hadn’t finished the filing and organising that I started back in March. There wasn’t a lot to do, but as most family historians will probably admit it is not the most exciting of tasks and I always seemed to find something else more important that needed doing.
With the profusion of Bank Holidays over here in England these last couple of weeks I have had a bit more free time and have made the effort to get it finished, albeit at the expense of any new research.
I am pleased to say that my filing folder is now empty. Hurrah!
Now I need to get out to an archive and take some more notes to fill it up again, but at the moment I am not sure when I will next get the opportunity. All the time the good weather continues I will try to make the most of it and spend my weekends walking and exploring the landscapes of my ancestors.
In the meantime I might start a review of my digital folders and make sure that they are still as they should be. I am sure they could probably benefit from some attention and it will be a lot easier to fit it in at odd moments of the day because I don’t necessarily have to be sitting at my desk.
Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
A couple of weeks ago I said I was going to try to get on top of my filing and organising. Well I never did actually complete it, but I hope to this week.
Aside from getting my notes in order it was also meant to kill some time whilst I waited for the marriage certificate of Thomas NICHOLLS and Martha DRAPPER. It was this marriage certificate that proved my undoing.
I wasn’t sure what I going to do with my notes until the certificate arrived, so my organising stalled. I didn’t know whether the notes that I had taken would prove to be relevant to my research or not so I ignored them, then when the certificate arrived I was too distracted following up on that to pick up where I had left off.
I know what I need to do with them now, but I have been distracted and lost the momentum, so I need to kickstart my filing again. There are a couple of pages that can probably be tossed in the bin (but I will keep a record of them, just in case). I also have a few more new postcards and a couple of photocopies to scan as well now.
I am very bad at dealing with incoming information and it is something I need to work on. Too often I just grab the pertinent piece of information from a record and neglect the rest of the information contained in it. Of course I still have a record of all the information somewhere but it doesn’t always get recorded in my family tree.
I have another confession to make. I have let my filing fall behind again. It is not a big deal really but I really would like to get things back in order. My filing backlog consists of a plastic folder which contains the notes from various archive visits that I have made over the last couple of months.
I have a pretty good (or so I think) system for dealing with them. I record the details in two places, my family history software and also on Excel spreadsheets and then throw away the notes. In theory this means I am covered if one or other of the files get corrupted, hopefully I will only lose one copy (there are multiple backups as well).
This system works well for me if I am disciplined enough to stick to it. For some reason over the last couple of months I have not been sticking to it, and this week I really need to focus on clearing folder.
It shouldn’t take long. It is should only be a couple of evening’s work, but these things usually take longer because I can’t stick to just entering the new data. I always end up going online and trying to find more information.
For example if I enter a baptism record I will then go off in search of a birth registration, and if it is an uncommon name then I might also look for a marriage or death registration. Then I might look for an army service record or a probate record and what should have taken a minute or two ends up taking nearer half an hour.
Discipline is once again the key here, rather than getting distracted and heading off at a tangent I need to do the obvious thing and record them as to-do items so that I can follow them up at a later date.
This is a perfect job for me this week, whilst I wait for a copy of the marriage certificate of Thomas NICHOLLS and Martha DRAPPER and ponder over what to do next with Ann HARMES. Hopefully by this time next week I will have it done, and will be proudly telling you how pleased I am to be organised again.