It was a productive year. My favorite goal this year was my version of 52 Ancestors. I was inspired by Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.”
I needed a systematic way to work through my gedcom file. I have been working from the same file since I started building the tree in 2003. After moving between several genealogy file management systems, my sources were junky, incomplete, or non-existent on earlier added profiles. Locations were not uniform. And, somehow the notes had duplicated multiple times. I didn’t know where to start. When I looked at the full file, I was overwhelmed.
It was going to take a lot of work to undo some earlier bad habits. I didn’t want to start for scratch, but I needed to start somewhere.
Does this sound familiar?
I started by creating a list of my ancestors. I listed several generations of direct ancestors, some siblings, and some spouses. I also included a few people for whom questions had been asked at family gatherings.
I numbered this list 1 to 52. Each week I picked a new person to research. Sometimes I picked someone of a interest. Other weeks, I used random.org to generate a random number.
I started by creating a research log for each individual. This log included an individual report with the details I had recorded earlier. The log also included a list of research prompts like Census records and research sites to ensure I systematically conducted research for each person. I filled in missing source information on evidence I had found earlier and filled in missing details. I also saved evidence images to my computer when available.
The research log and images were saved to digital research folders organized by surname with subfolders for each individual.
To wrap up each person’s research, I printed new a individual report, a pedigree chart, and a family group sheet. These were added to a paper filing system. I currently use folders because while I need some printed documentation, I don’t plan to print everything.
I wrapped up 2018 today with a few final reports that I had to print.
Which genealogy goal did you fulfill in 2018? Which ancestor did you find?
For 2019, I encourage you to find some way to keep your research fresh and moving forward.
* Use Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” prompts.
* Create your own list of 52 Ancestors work on a new person each week. Review your research plan and move forward on next steps
For my 2019, I am going to focus on projects and family groups. I’m developing a list of key families and research questions. I will use random.org to create a randomized list of numbers that I will use to organize my list of projects. The projects will need a little more time, so I will commit 5 hours a week and up to 4 weeks for each project. By the end of the year, I should have made significant progress on at least 12 projects.