Thomas MacEntee issued a challenge a few weeks ago to work through the steps of a “Genealogy Do-Over” with him. This is a 13 week (or 13 milestones) project in which he is going to begin his family tree research totally from scratch in order to create a tree without the mistakes that we all make as beginning genealogists.  I’m a week behind in beginning this challenge and I’m quite certain that with my work load, I won’t be able to complete a challenge each week, so I’m going to consider this a 13 milestones project.  He has blogged about the challenge and formed a Facebook group which I have joined. There have already been lots of ideas and forms posted that group members have uploaded to Facebook in order to help everyone with the journey.

I love the idea of beginning totally from scratch, but I’ve never had the guts to do it. This may be the kick in the pants that I need!

So the assignments for Milestone 1 are:

  • Setting Previous Research Aside. The idea for this step is to be willing to “put it all away” and not to refer to it as you begin to research. He says that the only exception would be documents that took significant time or money to collect. Those items are only to be considered as absolutely necessary, but when you DO look at those records, you are only to look at the data itself – no post-it notes or handwritten notes in the margins. All digital files are to be moved to 1 central location which he is calling a HOLD area – just get them all into 1 location.  That is what I have been working on for quite some time now and will be my focus for this goal.
  • Preparing to Research. Thomas is using this step as an opportunity to think about how he has done research in the past including late nights or short spurts which means he isn’t thinking as clearly or isn’t completing a thorough job on a research topic. He is encouraging us to think through how we have researched in the past and what we might change. We might think of some “warm up” exercises that we might use in the future or making a list of items that we want to have on hand each time we do research.
  • Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines. In this step, we are to make a list of self-imposed procedures that we will commit to following as the research portion of the challenge begins. For me, this will mean coming up with the best way for me to keep track of my research (I’ve GOT to use the log I’ve created!) and citing my sources. One of my Christmas gifts from my son was a copy of the Evidentia software. I will be watching the videos to learn more about how to use it and I will use that to help me create my sources. I also plan to learn more about using Evernote to keep track of things I find online.

So that’s my plan for this week. I’ll try to post my updates as I complete each goal! I would love to have a genealogy buddy who would be willing to work as a team to keep each other accountable and to bounce ideas off of every once in awhile. Anybody interested?