Yesterday evening I thought I would get down to scanning some paper documents, but my scanner had other ideas.
I had scanned some of my recent postcard purchases (I really must get around to showing you them) without any problems, but things started going wrong when I tried scanning some newspaper prints.
I had gathered together about a dozen A4 pages which I had printed from a variety of local newspapers. I had scanned five or six pages when my printer/copier/scanner froze. The scanner thought it was still scanning, my PC thought it was scanning, but it was doing nothing.
All attempts to cancel the job proved futile and I had to shut down the PC. The printer/copier/scanner refused to shut down until I pulled out the power cable. Half an hour later after several reboots I finally got the printer/copier/scanner and PC talking again, but I had lost all the scans I had already done, because the scanner doesn’t save the documents until you actually close the program down.
I suspect it was a memory issue which caused the problem in the first place, my old PC is low on memory and I don’t think it could cope with the size of the scans I was doing. I realise I could have changed the settings, but I was happy with the quality of the scans I was getting. Instead I chose to close the program after each scan and start afresh. It probably took twice as long, but it worked. Now I am dreading having to do the next batch.
Most of my plans for last week went out of the window when Ancestry.co.uk updated their London Historical Records collection, and consequently I did get much of my filing done. I also couldn’t resist doing some research last week and added a couple of pair of 4x great grandparents to my family tree. So this week I need to get back to some organising and filing.
Continue working through my stuff to sort folder, making sure I have all the data on my PC and then throw away the paper copy. I really want to get the paper folders done so I can turn my attention to the digital files.
I want to put together a research plan for the GEERING family from Lewes, Sussex. I want something ready so that if I get the opportunity to head down to the East Sussex Record Office I can just grab it and go. This will mostly be making sure I have all my data on Family Historian and a list of parish records that I need to check.
All the information that I gathered down at the West Sussex Record Office on Saturday needs to be entered into Family Historian and onto my other record spreadsheets. Having almost cleared all my paper files I don’t want to start collecting them again.
I must update my blogroll this week, most of my blog reading is done via FeedDemon and the list on my blog no way reflects the feeds I have in FeedDemon.
Last week was quite relaxed, I didn’t get much work done but I did spend quite a while thinking about which direction my research is heading in the next few months. There are a couple of things I definitely want to get done this week, and three or four others that I would like to complete.
I need to get my organising finished this week, it is almost there so I should manage it. I am finding that I am missing sitting down to some serious research rather than the quick adding bits here and there as I go through my files, so I am aiming to get all my paper files sorted this week.
It has been a while since I went to an archive, so next weekend I want to make a visit. I’m not sure which one, the West Sussex Record Office looks favourite at the moment, but maybe the London Family History Centre (not strictly an archive I know but close enough), the Hampshire Record Office or the Surrey History Centre. So I need to decide which one and put together a research plan.
Those are the two most important ones, but if I get time (that if should really be in bold and capitals) I also have the following I would like to do:
I still need to finish updating the appearance of my blog, tidy up the sidebar and update my blogroll.
I have a number of blog posts I want to write, and if I am not careful they are going to fall by the wayside and won’t be timely anymore, so not worth doing.
I still need to find a database to record my postcards, something that will deal with several different collections and handle the images and descriptions all in one package. My biggest worry is that I will enter all my data into one program and find that I am stuck with that program forever, so I may try and just use Microsoft Access.
Having had a look at prezi.com last week (probably too much effort to set up each family), I am going to investigate using TiddlyWiki
for presenting aspects of my family history. I particularly like the fact that all you need is a web browser to run it, and that it doesn’t need to be online (but could be).
My head is spinning, I think I have over done it today, I have indulged in too much organising and I don’t know whether I am coming or going at the moment. I am sure that when I close my eyes to go to sleep I will still be able to see census images!
I have spent much of the day going through folders and sorting out stuff again. The spare bedroom is looking much tidier now, and I am almost at the point where I wanted to be by the end of the week, I have a small pile of papers to go through tomorrow and then everything will be in folders or in the bin.
There are still three or four certificates to scan, but at the moment I don’t have the energy to get up and lift the scanner lid (actually clear the books from the top first then lift the scanner lid), so those will have to wait until tomorrow.
I have added several individuals and families to Family Historian, as well as filling in lots of census data and other stuff that I should have done before. It has been surprising today just how many loose ends I still have, it has been quite useful visiting old research again as it has reminded me of much I still need to do and how I really ought to finish one thing off properly before moving onto something else.
This whole organising process is really making me think long and hard about how I go about my research, I certainly need to make sure I never print out another census image unless I really have to. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have seen Thomas KINGHORN in the 1851 census today.
The other thing it has brought home is how huge my family tree is becoming, I have been all over the place today revisiting ancestors from many parts of England (although mostly the South East) and across many years, and it really is becoming very difficult to remember what I have and haven’t done. Once I have everything organised I really need to have a thorough review of my tree (perhaps down to every individual) and decide what else I would like to do.
It’s Friday night, and all across Britain people are out enjoying themselves, perhaps at the cinema or down the pub or even just with their feet up in front of the TV. Not me. I’m sat in front of my computer trying to work out what to name my folders!
You see I have a problem. My family history files are fairly well organised on my hard drive, in nicely named surname folders, then sub-divided into record types, such as census images or certificate images. All was going well until tonight, when I came to save a census image for my 4x great grandmother Mary MITCHELL (although that is not her maiden name).
This is not them same MITCHELL family as the ones from Hampshire that I was researching earlier in the year, this is a different lot, or at least I assume they are, maybe a long way back I will find a connection, but until then I am assuming they are different. So where do I stick this census image?
Do I save it in the same folder with all my other MITCHELLs or do I put it in a separate folder? I would rather keep the two branches separate, so what do I call this new folder? To make matters worse I am pretty certain there is another MITCHELL family coming into my tree a bit further up, again probably not related.
I tried to think of what I could use in my folder name to separate them, perhaps including the husband’s surname, or maybe a place, or generation when they first appear in my tree, but nothing seems quite right. Instead I have gone for MITCHELL 1 and MITCHELL 2, by no means ideal, but at least it works for now.
Does anyone else have a better idea? How do you cope with filing multiple cases of the same surname? Should I go to bed now and worry about it in the morning?
I’ve noticed in the last couple of weeks that I have been finding it harder and harder to blog. It is not that I don’t have the time, it is just that the ideas don’t seem to come so easy and writing posts is more of an effort.
Perhaps after six months of daily posting the novelty and excitement of being a genealogy blogger is wearing off, or maybe it is just fatigue. However, it struck me today that there could be another reason. It occurred to me that this blogging “slump” has coincided with my switch from mainly researching to mainly organising.
Theoretically I can see that my creativity might be greater whilst I am actually researching and my brain is firing on all cylinders, rather than during the mundane tasks of sorting, scanning and filing, but could this actually be the reason?
I think I need to hurry up and get this filing sorted out, just in case my brain seizes up altogether!
I am looking for a quiet week this week, time to put my feet up and take it easy, or at least easier. I didn’t get much research or organising done last week, I did seem to get a lot of certificates scanned but that was about it. So this week I will try and focus on filing and get most of my organising finished this week.
- I still need to get the TROWER folder emptied and all the other lose paperwork filed. I need to set up a current projects folder for all my work in progress. So by the end of this week I want just four folders: original documents, general research material, current projects and stuff still to sort/transcribe/scan.
- You may have noticed some changes to the sidebar of this blog, well I still have more work to do, so this week I want to try and get that finished and tidied up.
- I want to investigate prezi.com and see if that is going to be practical solution for presenting parts of my family tree or if it is going to take too much time to set up.
- I need to try and find a database that will store details of my postcards. I would like to scan my entire collection and be able to add notes and research to them. Maybe I can just do this with tagging, but I suspect I need a database that will handle images (fronts and backs of cards) as well as text (transcripts of messages, addresses, details of the subject etc).