Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Genealogy Do-Over Part 3 – Organize

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. This is my third and final "getting ready" post.

Today – it’s all about organization & consistency! 

I remember reading something – not sure when or where, but it might have been one of those cute Facebook poster thingies – something like, “Being organized is not a goal, it’s what helps you achieve your goals.”   I want this Do-Over to get me to that point of organization.  I need to have simple, straight-forward methods that make it easy for me to stay organized so that my DIS-organization doesn't get in the way of my progress.  If I had a resolution for 2015 it would something along the lines of, "This will be the year that I DON'T re-download a record that I already have (or re-copy or re-aquired.)"  Organization should be the process that is always running in the background to make my research and writing happen more smoothly.

As a start, I took the plunge yesterday and moved all of my genealogy folders into one folder titled “!Archive_Enter_at_Your_Own_Risk.”  When we get to the research part, I will be accessing this folder to pull out documents I already have but that won't be my first stop.  I don't have much in the way of paper files, but they are currently in tubs and will stay there until I get ready to move on to researching.  For me part of this Do-Over will be to re-evaluate what I DO have.  I want to do that in an orderly and focused way - one person at a time.

What I will need the most throughout this Do-Over is discipline to avoid those BSOs - Bright, Shiny Objects.  I will also need discipline to not take short-cuts and tell myself that "I'll come back later and clean that up" because looking at my hard drive and database, clearly I won't!

In terms of not taking short-cuts, I thought this was great.  I remembered that Amy Coffin, of the We Tree Genealogy Blog, had done a Do-Over of her own a number of years ago.  So, I went back and found her first blog post about that.  My favorite quote from that post has to be, “I am so serious about this that I didn't start building the tree until I could find my own birth certificate in order to make a proper source citation.” I need that sort of dedication and commitment to my own Do-Over - Amy, you are my Do-Over hero!

The bottom line is to get started moving in the right direction and then continue on that path consistently, every time I sit down to research. Not earth-shattering but important.

The Goal: Have a “readme file” for the major areas of my data input and filing (either paper or electronic.)  At minimum, one for my “Documents” folder, one for data entry into RM or Legacy starting with place naming conventions, and one for paper filing. I’m already half way through with the first.

While my system needs to be simple it's not something I do every single day so little inconsistencies can appear if I don't take time to remind myself of the standards I put in place.   As an inducement to open that file, I'm putting in things I can cut and paste - because I' lazy and I really like to cut and paste! 

Time: By the end of the Do-Over (13 weeks)


  1. I have a couple areas that need a do-over lol. Not just genealogy. I changed computers midway and I need to go through the old email files I had on the old computer because I am sure I am missing some stuff. That might be a good start.
    Good luck. Will it be Spring in 13 weeks?

  2. Thanks, Diana, for the quote "Being organized is not a goal, it’s what helps you achieve your goals.” That applies to my activity. . I often spend a lot of time, "having a sort out" without actually progressing my goals. Good luck with your "Do Over".

  3. Thanks for the helpful post. I am getting ready to start Do Over cycle 2 and have been reading folks blogs about their Do Over cycle 1.


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