March in Indiana is notorious to weather swings. Sunny and beautiful one day and snow storms the next. Today, for a few hours, I had the sunny and beautiful weather in front of 5 days of forecasted rain. So I took the opportunity to get outside for an hour to do a little garden clean-up and I couldn’t help but think about how my goals for that hour were analogous to my genealogy work.

#1 – Take a look at what’s popping up below the surface.¬†

The bed I chose to work in today is one of several iris beds. Two years ago, I dug up, split and transplanted hundred of iris bulbs. The bed I worked on today seemed to struggle last year and was very behind all of the other beds. So last fall, I decided to leave all of the foliage alone over the winter to allow the dying leaves to feed the bulbs to give them a little extra strength. Now that the weather is starting to warm up, I took a peek under these leaves and sure enough, lots of new plants popping up underneath!


This made me think about how often I open a page in Ancestry for an ancestor who I haven’t looked at in quite awhile and been pleasantly surprised to see new records available for that person. Haven’t worked on a specific line for awhile? It might be worth going back for a “peek underneath”.

#2 – Take care of issues early rather than waiting for a better time.

My neighbor has a large maple tree in their front yard. It is beautiful. But the seeds of a maple tree have wings and I’m pretty sure that ALL of the seeds from that tree land in my flower beds! As I cut out the old, dead leaves of my irises, I found dozens and dozens of those seeds in the dirt.


I know what would happen to those seeds if they were exposed to 5 days of rain plus warming temperatures. I needed to make sure that I was removing every single seed or I would be looking at a major headache this summer!

What is the seed that you need to remove from your research before it gets out of control? About a year ago, I noticed that someone on Ancestry had an image of my grandfather’s family in their tree. I have the same image and I may very well have shared the image with the person, but I couldn’t recall for sure. The only problem was that the image description had the wrong name for the parents. Instead of my great-grandparents names, the description listed my great-great-grandparents. Oops! But I didn’t say anything. I was amazed at how quickly (and how often) that image started popping up as a “hint” for my great-great-grandparents – and from more than one account. The mis-labeled image had been incorrectly attached to trees over and over and over. And some of those people had cropped the image to have individual headshots – which is fine – except that they were incorrectly labeled because of the first image description. I’ve commented on several of the images to try to spread the word, but I have a feeling that this image has already spread too far and that the comments won’t reach everyone. Perhaps if I had made my comment sooner?

Do you have a record in your online account that is mis-attributed? I’d say this happens most often when 2 different people have the same name. Take a closer look to “weed” these sources out of your research as quickly as you can.

#3 – Slow and steady makes the process much more enjoyable

It happens every spring. The weather turns nice and I go out to work in my beds. But there’s so much to do! I push myself to get as much done as possible. And the next day, the aches and pains remind me that I can’t do as much as I used to and still do a great job.

It’s the same way when I don’t work on my research for awhile. Or if I don’t work on a specific LINE for awhile. How painful is it to go back and figure out where I was? How much time do I waste finding the same things over and over because I didn’t stick to my organization system? Why didn’t I label that digital file with the date or the location or even the ancestor it applied to? Because I was rushed and figured I’d fix it later. We’ve got to know exactly where our files will be stored and what our naming template will be. We’ve got to have a plan in mind and stick with it!

#4 – You’ve got to do the prep work before you’ll see the flowers.

If I don’t start early to clean the dead stuff out of my beds, the flowers that come up later will be sickly and pale. And part of my “prep work” in my gardens has got to be making a plan so that everything gets done when it needs to be done.

Prep work in genealogy not only means having my supplies gathered and having a goal in mind for that research session, but it also means doing the “boring” stuff at the end of the session so that I can get a quicker start on my next research session.

It’s much easier when I make good use of my Research Plan and keep good notes to remember which record sets I’ve already looked for. But updating that plan is so BORING! I can be spending that time to RESEARCH, right? I need to remind myself that I don’t have to find every record in one setting. Much better to take my time, really analyse the record in front of me and to take good notes in my Research Plan so that my next steps won’t be painful.

#5 – All the work will be worth it when the results are blooming!

I think this one’s pretty self explanatory!

I hope you’re enjoying the spring season!