Happy New Year!
I’ve been thinking about how I’ve been doing my genealogy and I’d like to make some changes for 2017. (Wouldn’t everyone?) I tend to become obsessed with a specific ancestor and every other ancestor gets left out of the fun.
Recently, I have begun to dig into using DNA in my research and because of that, I’ve created a public tree on Ancestry to link the results to. I decided that as I added each person to the tree, I would look through the hints and do a quick search for any “low hanging fruit” and I was quite surprised at how many records were out there that I hadn’t taken the time to look for before because I’ve been focused so fiercely on John M. Smith. Because I was finding so much information on collateral family members, I thought about how I really have no idea exactly what I DO have for each ancestor because it’s been so long since I’ve even looked at any family other than my Smith line.
So I decided that I needed to take an “inventory” for each ancestor to see what I have and what I should be looking for. I wanted to be able to look at one sheet of paper per family to give me a quick idea of what I’ve already found. I went out to Pinterest to see what I could find and then I took my favorite ideas and created my own inventory using…..Excel, of course!
I started with a form that I found on the “Are My Roots Showing?” blog. That form can be found here. I made just a few changes to that form, but wanted more so I also found inspiration from the Mid-Continent Public Library and their Research Checklist found here. I’ve taken these ideas and put together a 2 page inventory that I intend to fill out for each family group in my tree. As I fill it out, I’ll run my “quick search” to find the easy records that I’ve been missing out on all this time and then I’ll create a Research Plan for each family.
I thought others might be interested in using a form like this as well, so I’m going to add it to my “Downloads” tab at the top of the page, so check back tomorrow for that link as well as some tips I’ve collected as I’ve begun to work with the form. Every ancestor is unique so the form is a great way for me to make sure I’ve covered all my bases, but each form needs to be tweaked to make the best use of space. For example, if I know an ancestor did not have more than one spouse, then I can use that space to jot down a “To Do” list as things come to mind so I don’t forget to add anything to my Research Plan.
I still have a couple of things in mind to add to the form, so I plan to finish that up tonight and post them tomorrow, but I thought you might enjoy a little heads up!