Genealogy Wise

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I've just finished this exercise, based on a suggestion from a book Dae had suggested to me. I'm posting my introduction and the summary sections of my report. Hope it is of help to other beginners.

In Chapter 7 of The Researchers Guide to American Genealogy, Val Greenwood suggests that each researcher give himself periodic research reports. You expect to receive these when you hire a professional genealogist; when you “hire” yourself, both of your aspects deserve the value of these reports.
The book suggest that the reports should contain the following six items:
“1. An explanation of the problem.
“2. A notation of the records you have searched.
“3. A statement of your reasons for searching these records.
“4. Your findings therein.
“5. Your interpretation and evaluation of these findings as they relate to the problem (in whatever detail is required).
“6. An outline of the problem as it now stands and suggestions for further research.”
The author indicates that these things need not be formally numbered; nor do they need to be presented in the above order; but the report should be checked to be sure that “all bases are covered.”

SUMMARY: In my first attempts to get information on specific early connections, I contacted several people who generously shared information with me. This has lead to a database containing 3,161 names as of October 2009. PHASE ONE of this report details that help and gives the main surnames for whom they have provided information.
I also began to research virtual and physical locations which might contain information necessary to developing a list of our ancestors and their relatives (our family tree). Some of these locations may hold information about our family history or else hold references to other locations where these records may be found. PHASE TWO (Learning about Research) details the resources for learning and for research which I have found at this time.
The only names in our family tree for which we have GPS “proof” of existence are Sue STRICKLER Watson McCORMICK and Robert Francis McCORMICK. (More research is necessary for Sue — the marriage and divorce records of her first marriage are not yet found.)

NEXT IMMEDIATE GOALS: A professional genealogist would clearly state the next goals to the existing research. My goals cannot be stated in clear-cut specifics. My first concern at this time is to carefully organize the results of the actual research which I have accomplished. I need to set up clear, consistent citation styles for each type of record I have collected and I need to be certain that each resource is cited for each individual person in my program for whom we have a source. I also need to set up a clear filing system for the storage of all physical copies of source materials.
My next research goal is to find GPS verification for Robert STRICKLER, Adelle DORRANCE, George Frank McCORMICK, and Sally ATON.

There are about three more pages of specifices; I thought the idea behind the exercise and the specific summary results might help other beginners.


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Oh! If only I could be so organised!

I bounce from one 'priority' to another depending on who has been in touch with me most recently.

I also need to get organised getting organised! What is the best way to collate all the bits of information that accumulate?

Yours aye,

I started to reply to this and the reply got wiped out!

To keep it short, I do a lot of wandering. The report to myself made that very clear to me. I'll probably continue to wander to some extent, but I believe that I will find out more if I concentrate on the four people who are my parents and my husband's parents and our aunts and uncles. (This also brings in the grandparents and great aunts and uncles — but I'll record them and resist as much as possible the urge to chase them down until hour parents' generation is firmly in place.)

This semi-organized approach should be more effective — and more fun — then just jumping around.
I didn't think of my approach as being "at the Family Group Level," but that is what it truly is. My software (Reunion for Macintosh) shows everyone on a family page. In the center of the page is a person or a person and a spouse (therefore single persons are a family group to themselves). There is a place for marriage information (which is invisible when no marriage information is entered); above this are the parents of each spouse in the marriage and below the central couple or person the children appear. So each time I go to an individual I see the person in a family group setting. The program also creates both Person Sheets and Family Group Sheets as reporting tools.

And thank you for the reference.
Thanks, Gene:

Reunion presents the researcher with what it calls a "Family Card," which is as I described above. From this you can generate a Family Group Sheet. I'll quote part of the online manual (a very complete one) for the Family Group Sheet:
"A family group sheet is a form that shows information about one immediate family. This typically includes the husband, wife, and children. The family group sheet has become popular primarily through its heavy use by the LDS (an abbreviation for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
Reunion adheres to the traditional layout of family group sheets — one which conveys information about a family and its members. Family group sheets do not include details about other families in which a husband or wife participated. The family group sheet focuses on the husband and wife shown on the current family card. If you want to create a family group sheet for a person and another of his or her spouses, you should create the family group sheet from the family card showing the correct husband and wife."

You can also generate blank forms (either Family Group or Person Sheet forms) to take along for field work. (Or to use when recording the study of online sources or when doing phone interviews.)

At home I work on the family card, which can be adapted to show any group of fields you are working with. When I go out into the field — something I have not yet truly done — I plan to have Family Group Sheet printouts and Blank forms (both Person and Family Group) for each family card I am researching. I think that working on those papers will probably be easier (and safer) than doing much direct computer work while at a library and probably the ONLY recording materials usable at the courthouse. I also suspect that even when the field work is the relatively short day trip it takes to get to the St. Louis or Kansas City areas, I will wish to be able to look up more than one family in case the first goal is easily solved (or more sadly, comes to a screeching halt).

Forgive me if I've told you more than you want to know. I'm aware that as a Macintosh user, I'm working with a litle known program. Most Mac users seem to feel that Reunion is the best Mac program available, so we chose it for our Christmas present in 2007, when we began our serious study of our families. I've been very happy with using it, but it appears to vary quite a bit from popular programs such as FTM or Legacy.

Thank you continually for all your help — in the Chat Rooms, in the Groups such as Most Wanted, and in the Forum discussions like this one. I'm not sure how we beginners would develop without the encouragement you give.

Thanks Sue, for starting a very worthwhile discussion here. I feel these reminders about goals and conversation about organization are really good for us all, regardless of the level we consider ourselves to be in our research. I've appreciated all your comments and those of Gene and others who've participated. Now I've made a resolution to report to myself on one or two groups immediately. It will probably help a lot in seeing through some walls. GW is great for having input and encouragement from other genealogists, isn't it!!
Thank you for your comment; the ultimate thank you goes to Dae Powell, for calling my attention to the Val Greenwood title several months ago. In a chat room, Dae said that the thanks go to Val, which is probably also true.

I agree with you about the help GenWise gives us through interaction with others.

Thank you for this location. I've copied off the samples for study tomorrow — it's been a hard day, and I don't trust myself to understand tonight.
What does the phrase, "...GPS verification" mean as regards an individual? I'm retired military, so GPS to me means Global Positioning System and NAVSTAR Constellation and nothing related to genealogy.
Yes, we have problems with this overlap of initials — we own a Garmin, so we also think in terms of Global Positioning.

In Genealogy, "GPS" stands for "Genealogical Proof Standard." Genealogists used to use the term "preponderance of evidence;" this standard is more precisely defined.
Ah ha. Thanks for the clarification.



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