Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What I Am Doing To Overcome GADD...Genealogical Attention Deficit Disorder!

In a recent post I mentioned that I intended to, “…pick someone in my database….ANYONE….and do a little researching!”  Well, I have decided to pick two people instead – my Father’s paternal grandfather and my Mother’s maternal grandmother and here's why.

My first choice, Thomas RITCHIE, I picked because I know quite a bit about him already. I have many documents including birth, marriage, census and naturalization records and a number of pictures. That might seem counterintuitive, but I have two goals here.

First I want to really work on my source citations within my genealogy program. Using Tom as my subject gives me many different types of documents to use. I feel that once I’ve gotten every piece of data I have for Tom properly documented and cited, I’ll have a better understanding of how to handle a wide range of sources. This goal is related as much to better understanding and utilizing my software as it is to source citations.

Second, because I have so much information on Tom it will allow me to work on my overall organizational strategy as well. I’m going to think of it as a mini-project. If I can get all the pictures and documents, both digital and paper, in a form that makes sense then I’ll be in good shape for working on those ancestors where I have much less to go on.

Marker of Gertrude's mother

Which leads me to choice number two, Gertrude A. NISSEN. I’ve chosen her specifically because I have so little information about her! Until just a few years ago I didn’t know anything more than her name. I am going to use her as my research opportunity. By concentrating on her, and not allowing myself to be side tracked into wandering after my step-grandmother’s brother’s second wife’s sister (an actual example, by the way) I should be able to accomplish so much more ~ an astonishing revelation, I know - which is why I am sharing it here!

By having these two goals in front of me - and ONLY these two – I should be able to overcome some of the debilitating effects of that disorder I have – GADD. I’ve written about it before and it still haunts me ;-) In addition, having a very narrow scope will allow me to use what little time I have without being overwhelmed just trying to decide where to start.

Up next, what I know and don't know about Gertrude and a few wild-eyed theories as well.  I hope some of you out there will stop by to poke holes in my theories or offer some words of wisdom or both!


  1. Can't wait to here more. I like your approach. Now, if I could just carve a little time out in my schedule to crank out a blog post.


  2. Well done! I'm in awe of your discipline - too much GADD here to get that narrowly focused.

  3. Caroline ~ Time is something there never seems to be enough of these days!

    Nolichucky ~ There is nothing to be in awe of - yet! I am great a making plans...but now I have to actually DO it...then you can be in awe ;-)

  4. Best of luck! Everytime I try to focus on one person I seem to find a great new resource that could help with many others and then I'm off track...again!

  5. I've decided that there are at least two kinds of researchers. First is the multi-tasking type who is not only good at following multiple leads, but is often bored with plodding in a straight line. The other type is, like you say, often so overwhelmed by the vast number of choices that they get paralyzed. I say, recognize your style and act accordingly, like you have.

  6. Appreciate your perspective. We seem to be swimmers in a sea of genealogy information. Do we travel neatly from point A to point B, or are we swept by the currents along a grand tour? It can be a good journey in any case.

  7. Hi, I just selected your blog for the Ancestor Approved Award. You can go to my site http://haugenhistory.blogspot.com/2011/02/ancestor-approved-award-winners.html to get the picture and post it on your wall. Good job with your blog.

  8. I think it is a great idea to choose someone from your database and seek to find all you can about them. Who knows what you will find!