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.
Time to rejoice and celebrate! My stuff to sort folder has finally been sorted. Hurrah!
This mean that all my notes are now on computer in one form or another and subsequently being backed up.
Also all my original documents, such as birth, marriage and death certificates, which I am not throwing away have been scanned and are being safely backed up to.
It was back on the August 2009 that I first decided that I needed to get my filing sorted out. Nearly four months later I have finished sorting the paper side of things.
Now I need to start on my hard drive. A directory of folders on my hard drive is nowhere near as daunting as a physical folder of paper, and to be honest there is no rush to my digital folders organised.
They are not going to get lost or destroyed (famous last words) and they are not going to get in the way because they don’t take up too much space.
There are however two things I would like to do now in terms of organising:
- I need to come up with some standardisation for my file and folder names, and stick to it.
- Go through my Reference Material folder and see if there is anything I actually need to keep in there. I suspect not.
Last week was an interesting week, some organising and some research, a trip to the East Sussex Record Office provided me with more material to organise and I am pleased to say that it was all input into the relevant spreadsheets and Family Historian in a timely manner.
- Top of the list is to get my blogroll updated, it has been too many weeks on my to do list.
- I need to continue working on my stuff to sort folder, the contents are getting less and less each week, but there is still too much left to sort out.
- I need to go through the last of my twelve 4x great grandparents and put together a plan to identify each of them.
- As well as the missing twelve 4x great grandparents, there are five 4x great grandmothers who have no maiden name yet, I need to put a plan together to find their maiden names as well.
I ended up doing more research than organising last week, I did make quite a dent in my stuff to sort folder and also added some more 4x great grandparents to my tree. There are a couple of key things to do this week, but most of it is the same old stuff which didn’t get done last week.
There is a very good chance that I will be going to the East Sussex Record Office this week, and although I have a rough research plan, I need to get some specific references organised.
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. It would be nice to finish this week as this task is start to drag on, but I think there is still too much work to be done.
I didn’t get my blogroll updated last week, I really must do it this week.
I don’t think there is much more I can do to identify any more of my 4x great grandparents without a visit to a couple of archives, so I need to look at putting together a plan for tracing those missing ancestors in October.
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.