What should my to-do list do?

23 Mar

I was going to write about the problems I have with my to-do list, but first I think it might be helpful to explain what I am trying to achieve with to-do list.

The idea is that my to-do list is a list of everything I need to do in my family history. Of course there are lots of things to be done and they are not all just straightforward things such as find the baptism record of John Smith.

The way my to-do list currently works is that each entry have three parts:

  1. What I need to do
  2. Where I need to be to do it
  3. All the information I need to do it

1.  What I need to do

This could be almost anything, but some examples are:

  • Find a particular fact about a person
  • Organise some data that I have already discovered
  • Transcribe a particular record I have found
  • Order a GRO certificate
  • Photograph an ancestor’s gravestone

The list could go on and on. Also it doesn’t need to be a single task (find the baptism of John Smith), it could be many tasks combined into one task in the form of a project (find out what happened to the children of John Smith).

Initially the project would be one entry, more as a method of holding that project as an idea, until it is ready to be worked on, when it would then be split into several single tasks.

2.  Where I need to be to do it

Again this could be almost anywhere, either in the physical world or in the online world.

  • An archive of record office
  • On a particular website or dataset
  • In a town, village or churchyard
  • Sat at my computer

This is the part that enables me to know what things I have to do when I am at a particular record office, or when a particular website has a special offer/free access.

3.  All the information needed to do it

Basically this is enough information to enable me to complete the task without having to go back to my database/notes to find out what I am supposed to be looking for.

In the case of find the baptism of John Smith I would want to summarise what I already know, so in this case his parent’s names and the date and place of his birth.

If the baptism isn’t where I would expect it then that fact would be added to the entry and I would to try elsewhere (or eventually accept that there wasn’t a baptism or it wasn’t recorded).

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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3 Responses to “What should my to-do list do?”

  1. Yolanda Presant March 24, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    Hey if you make a template for this let me know. Thanks for the follow as well. My Irish and Scottish stuff is at the beginning in the archives. Again, I was more telling the story of my family with some back-up but there is really way to much stuff for a blog. I am slowing down at the moment to get my stuff together and collate it into book form. Though I am not too pleased at the missing certs etc. But that could take a lifetime. I love collecting actual certs for people and have used that as a basic framework. So far, I only know of 1 English ancestor of mine from Cumberland c. 1822.

  2. Alex March 25, 2012 at 3:41 am #

    If you actually have all this in your to-to do list entries then you’re already winning. *slinks off to stare morosely at her various different half-hearted attempts at genealogical research planning*

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. So, what is wrong with my to-do list? « The Wandering Genealogist - March 26, 2012

    [...] shown you a section of my to-do list, I told you how it should work, and now it is time to explain why it doesn’t [...]

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