Tag Archives: focus

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.

Changing focus

24 Mar

Whilst sitting on the bus this morning on my way to work, enjoying the bright sun and (almost) clear blue sky, I got to thinking about my family history research. Rather than thinking about a particular ancestor or research problem, I started thinking about how my research has changed since last year, and in particular how the style of my research has changed.

Let me explain what I mean, at the start of last year (and probably a year or two before) my focus was very broad, I was intent on finding all my TROWER relations (e.g. living distant cousins) before they found me. More than once I contemplated starting a one-name study because that was what my research was becoming, but rather selfishly I was really only interested in those TROWERs who had a known connection to my ancestors.

Today, my research is very tightly focused, so much so that I am really only actively researching two people at moment: William Henry MITCHELL (2x great grandfather) and Thomas KINGHORN (3x great grandfather).

Obviously to build up a story of their lives the research includes parents, spouses and children (as well as places and occupations), but at the core of my current research are these two individuals.

The switch between wide and narrow focus can probably be attributed to one key moment, the discovery that my 2x great grandfather George Thomas GASSON spent about a third of his life in a mental asylum (and eventually died there).

Whilst this discovery and my desire to find out more led to an immediate narrowing of focus in my research, it also taught me one important lesson that would go beyond George Thomas GASSON, that was that in every generation there is at least one interesting story waiting to be told.

I had mistakenly believed that my ancestors never did anything remotely interesting, but now I can see my ancestors in a new light, everywhere I looked there was something interesting going on, if I just took the time to look closer. In time those stories will be told.

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