Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Genealogy Do-Over Part 2– Analyze

Back in December, Thomas MacEntee announced the Genealogy Do-Over. Since then the big red button above has been popping up all over! There is also a related Facebook group that has generated a ton of good ideas.

I decided to join in for a couple of reasons so I will have a post outlining a goal for each of those reasons.

Today – it’s all about analyzing!

Many people who are participating in the Genealogy Do-Over mention the regret of not documenting where they found information, especially back when they were getting started. When I look back at my very first visit to a courthouse - my first real research - I have very nicely written on each page where I got the information, book, volume, page.  I think I did a pretty good job because there is enough information there to allow me to craft a source citation.

My problem is not so much with that very early research, but with what I do (or don't do) once I have information. I am so thrilled with finding things that I don't stop, take a deep breath, and analyze what the information is telling me.  I don't spend time correlating things.  Pieces of information tend to live in isolation in my mind because I'm rushing on down the trail to the next piece of information.

Here are two posts pointing out rather embarrassing oversights on my part.  The first is a Tombstone Tuesday post which shows how I discovered that my great-great-grandmother did NOT die in Colorado.  The second post is a record of my discovery of information contained in a divorce file - a file that I had in my possession.  The piece of information was a huge break though in tracing a line I felt was a dead-end.  This was information I had all along but had overlooked because, at the time, I was looking for something else in that file.

I need to slow down as one of Thomas's recent posts suggest.  If I only have people back through my grandparent's generation when we get to the end of week 13, I'm OK with that.  I want to take time - not just to do this correctly, but to really THINK about what I have and what it means.

This is a real issue for me. When I first received the divorce file it enabled me to finally find my great-grandmother in the 1910 census.  I was then able to track her through 1920 and 1930 with different husbands in each.  That lead me to other marriage and divorce records.  But I never really read that first file and thought about EVERYTHING it was telling me.  I just pulled out a fact or two that I needed and I was off to the races. 

The Goal: Spend time as I add people to my new database to truly analyze the data. "Analyze" has many synonyms including:examine, study, investigate, scrutinize, evaluate, consider, question, and explore.  I need to think about all of those as I analyze my data.

This also includes understanding the time period and place these people occupied.  I need to do more reading.  It's great that Wayne County, Ohio birth records are online, but all the pages I download will not tell me as much as reading "Sonnenberg, a Haven and a Heritage", a history of the early settlement of the area in Wayne County where my ancestors lived. 

Time: Ongoing, but since I've decided that screen time right before I sleep is not good, I'll commit to devoting the last 30 minutes of my day to genealogy reading.


6 comments:

  1. Diana, you have excellent posts. An inspiration to me. Not I need to clean up my own act.

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    1. Thanks Walt - I know what I SHOULD do...but it's a matter of actually doing it!! 2015 is the year to clean up our genealogy!!

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  2. Diana, like you, I want my end goal to be to actually spend TIME with my ancestors. Really get to know them. I'll hold your reins, if you'll hold mine :)

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    1. You've got a deal Jenny! :-) I've found that getting to know them is more rewarding to me than having a long line stretching back in time. We can both get that motto cross-stitched and hanging on our wall..."You can’t make up with speed what you lack in direction"!!

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  3. A very thought-provoking post and I can relate to so much of what you are saying as regards research. I look forward to reading more of your progress on your" Do Over" journey..

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    1. Thanks! It's definitely going to be a journey - and it's one I've sorely needed to take for a while now. :-)

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