Like many other genealogists, I am excited about Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy Do-Over. And like many others, I am giving this project a lot of thought. This will not be my first do-over. I confess, I like to experiment with software. I used The Master Genealogist as my primary database for many years, but at some point, I came to the conclusion that while it had many advanced features, it didn't keep up with the times in some areas. Since then I have gone back and forth between Legacy Family Tree and Roots Magic. I like many features of both of them.
So one decision I need to make, and stick with, is which software I want to use.
Next is Evidentia. I first heard about Evidentia from a Dear Myrtle "Wacky Wednesday" presentation. I tried the free trial and there were many things I liked about it. Evidentia makes you look at the document, before you look at the people. It helps you wring every last fact out of a document. It has great citation templates. But it takes more time to analyze your document. That isn't a bad thing. I'm just not sure it's something I will stick with. I should. I certainly should.
So another decision I need to make is if I am going to purchase and use Evidentia. I should decide as it's on sale until the end of the year.
Then there is transcribing a document. Part of me knows I should transcribe every document because it makes me look at it. But again, I tend to only transcribe handwritten documents.
Will I make transcribing documents part of my process?
There is the entire, huge, topic of organization. I'm mostly digital, but I'm not sure that is a good thing.
Do I want to stay mostly digital (except a few original documents) or do I want paper as well? And either way, how do I organize it? I've tried Mary Hill's system. I've tried Karen Clifford's method. On the computer I've tried nested surnames and filing by document type. Currently I'm playing around with an idea I saw on Facebook to organize by decade. Nothing makes me happy! One thing I do like. Within whatever folder structure I use, I like to name the files YYYY Surname Firstname Description, where YYYY is the event year. Then if I look in the folder, I get a quick timeline view.
How will I organize my documents?
Like many I have collected many ancestors. One problem is that I don't really have a goal for them. Do I want to find ancestors as far back as I can? (Well,yes.) Do I want to concentrate on descendants from one line, perhaps with the goal of publishing my information? Do I just want basic facts? Do I want a rich history of each person? (Of course, but is it realistic?) This is probably the most important question of all.
Who do I want to research? And why?
I need procedures. I need to write them. I need to follow them. What will I use for my research log? My genealogy software? Excel? Evernote? Something else? Yikes. Do I plan to write a research report for each person? And of course everything will be cited, closely to Evidence Explained. I have decided to give up on citation perfection. Close enough is going to have to be good enough or I'll never research anyone.
What are my procedures?
And there is the big first step. Set aside my previous research. First I have to find it. It's in file cabinets. It's in multiple folders on my hard drive. It's in my email. It's in browser links. What a mess.
Can I do it?
I'm not sure I can. Or if I want to do so. I may adapt and 'just' revisit my tree, One person at a time, Follow the processes I set up for each person and family.
I've also been lax about blogging. Hopefully I'll be posting more on these topics as I think them through.