Tag Archives: organising

Letting my filing fall behind again

21 Mar

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.

Unplugged: Swapping the hills for postcards

5 Feb

I should have been out walking on the South Downs today, but the weather was so miserable that we (my wife and I) decided not to bother. The weather here was nothing compared to the weather recently experienced around the world, just some light drizzle and strong wind, but it just wasn’t worth getting cold and wet when there will be plenty of opportunities later in the year to get out on the hills and hopefully enjoy the experience.

Instead of heading for the hills I headed for Haywards Heath, West Sussex and the Postcard and Collectors Fair at Clair Hall. The main reason I wanted to go was to get some storage supplies to house my growing collection of postcards. I need to have a bit of a sort out of my existing postcard albums to make their contents more logical and consistent, and also provide a new home for those postcards that don’t fit into any of my main collections and any modern postcards that I buy during my travels.

I had already decided that a cardboard box (like the ones the dealers use to hold their stock) would probably be the best bet for the odd historic and modern postcards, so I bought one of these along with a supply of protective plastic sleeves in two different sizes and a few plastic dividers. Now I am ready to spend some time organising my collections.

Of course I couldn’t come away without any postcards, although as you can see in the image above I didn’t buy that many. The postcard I bought were quite a cross-section in both age and subject, but there were a couple of real gems in there as well, which I am really pleased with (and will no doubt be showing off in due course). Time to get my scanner going again!

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.

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