I’m finally ready to make an effort with my genealogy research. I think for a while there I was just all over the place and that kind of overwhelmed me. So now, I’m making a plan!
The first thing I did was read through Thomas MacEntee’s “The Genealogy Do-Over Workbook.” He gives a lot of great suggestions about just letting go of previous research and starting over with best practices. While I’m not going to completely abandon the work I’ve already done, I am setting it aside for now and starting with clear research goals and procedures in mind.
Here’s what I’ve come up with for keeping track of my current research…basically its just a binder with a bit of organization. I’ve made a binder for my mother’s side of the tree and my father’s side of the tree. This is my mother’s side binder:
The first page is a pedigree chart where I’ve added numbers for each family group. As you can see, I don’t have a lot of information for this side of the family as research in Brazil is difficult! Each number (1-16) has it’s own divider where I’ll place all the notes associated with the research for that family group. I also have a spiral notebook for random notes as I do the research.
Here’s what is behind tab #4 – The Joaquim Pedro DA SILVA family. The family group sheet comes first and I printed it out with all the information I have in my RootsMagic database. I’m sure that not all of this is correct, thus the reset. The plan is to go through and verify or reject all the “facts” and add as much information to each family group before moving backward in time.
Each family group “starts” at the date of marriage for the parents, so in this case 15 Sep 1948 OR 8 Jun 1932 (looks like I’ll need to do some research here!). So any birth information or other “facts” for the parents from prior to their marriage would go into the tab for their parents’ family. All the kids information would remain here until they are married – then they’d get their own tab.
This binder is just for the direct line research. So for example, I am descended through their eldest daughter Lindalva, who along with her husband are tab #2. I haven’t quite decided how I’ll handle information organization for the other siblings post marriage (maybe another binder?).
Even More Data
The next item in each family tab is the research log. This will list all of the research I’ve done, date, location, and result. Hopefully this will help me keep track of everything and not redo unnecessary work or waste time figuring out what to do next. Right now I have a general log for the whole family but I may divide this up by “fact.”
Finally, I’ll include any notes at the end. Here’s a table listing all the possible birth dates/locations for my Grandmother, the records where I may find the entries and the results of my search.
Eventually, I hope that all of this information will be synthesized and added to my database. The idea is that these are the rough drafts and when I’ve “verified” a “fact” it can be added to the database. I’d also like to include all “negative” facts that I’ve disproved and research notes so I’ll have to look into that and make some plans.
Thoughts or suggestions on streamlining the process? I’m going to try it for a while and see how it goes.
I am stuck in a rut. I feel like I have so many options and people to research that I just don’t know where to focus next. So, I’m deciding to not focus on any one person and instead focus on … everyone!
Yes, I will be cleaning out my entire database. In preparation for “The Great Genealogy Clean-up” I’ve read various posts that have been helpful.
James Tanner of Genealogy’s Star posted Clean up your Genealogy Database where he talked about looking at place names to make sure there aren’t duplicates. I will definitely be doing this, but probably towards the end of the process since I think the method I’ve come up with will solve most of the issues.
Tina Lyons of Gen Wish List has a whole series of posts dedicated to Cleaning up My Genealogy Database. I started using her system, and even printed out 60 pages of names! But after about 10 minutes, I knew this wasn’t the method for me. Her process, however, was informative.
So, I made a plan that I think will work for me. My process is more focused on “creation” rather than “deletion.” Just as a reference, as of today here’s what I’m starting with:
Create a new database that is blank. To this database I will add people one at a time and work on updating them before moving on to the next person. RootsMagic makes this so easy because I can just drag and drop people into the new database.
Only people who currently have sources associated with them or with a fact will move to the new database. If I can quickly find something to support the fact/person I will do so. Otherwise, they get left behind.
To be “complete” and included in the new database all of the following must be true: A. Each fact associated with the person must have a source; B. Each source must have a complete citation, including a image of the source and transcription/translation; C. Relevant notes must be included with each citation or fact, as needed.
Additionally, I will also be updating all file/folder names as I go along and scanning/filing all originals following my “Family History Filing System” (a 4 page description of my system which I’ve included with my physical files). I have so many original photos and documents still to scan…I know those will flesh out a lot of the facts that are missing citations.
I am starting as any new genealogist should, with myself. I’ll me, my husband and kids then move on to our parents and siblings working my way back.
I’m expecting when I’m done to have far fewer people in my database, but only “real” and verified information will be recorded. I will of course keep my “old” database as a guide when I continue research. Just because great-great-grandma’s birth date is not verified (yet) doesn’t mean I can’t use the “alleged” date as a starting point in my research. As Reagan would say, “Trust, but verified!”
Victor Erastus Lund (1888-1965) and his sister Etta Letitia Lund (1887-1868)
They are the 4th and 5th children (there were 10) of Mathias Christian Funk Lund and Pauline Persson Swensson. Victor is Troy’s great-grandfather.
I think Victor looks just like himself when he was older –
Victor E. Lund
I wanted to find out more about the photographer and discovered his photography collection is held at the Utah State University Library. (Initial Citation: USU_P0466; Heber H. Thomas Photograph Collection; Photograph Collections Special Collections and Archives. Utah State University Merrill-Cazier Library. Logan, Utah.)Here is their biographical note: (http://uda-db.orbiscascade.org/findaid/ark:/80444/xv46704)
Heber H. Thomas was born on November 17, 1862 in Wales and at the age of 14 immigrated to Ogden, Utah. He held various public office duties including that of superintendent of the state industrial school and a member of the Ogden school board. Around 1911 he moved from Ogden to Salt Lake City where he opened the Thomas Studio. He resided in Salt Lake City until his death on October 8, 1926 at the age of 63. He was survived by his wife Nellie Dane Thomas and three children: Mrs. G. Earl Stoddard of LaGrande, Oregon; Mrs. C. B. Turner of Salt Lake City, and J. D. Thomas of Ogden and four grandchildren. (Source: Salt Lake Tribune October 10, 1926)
So then I searched the page for “Lund” or “Taylor” thinking he may have taken more photos of the family. Here’s what I found:
8×10 Glass Plate Negatives, undated [Box 23] 23:21: Lund. Family portrait with four children 5×7 Unlabeled Glass plates, undated [Box 40] 40:07: Exterior shot of the Lund home 40:07a: Group of boys in front of the Lund home
5×7 Glass Plate Negative, undated [Box 7] 7:55: Taylor. Portrait of a man [cracked and held together by tape] 5×7 Glass Plate Negative, undated [Box 12] 12:41a: Taylor. Portrait of a man wearing a military uniform and hat 12:41b: Taylor. Portrait of a man wearing a military uniform without the hat 8×10 Glass Plate Negatives, undated [Box 17] 17:15: Taylor. Portrait of a man 5×7 Glass plates, 1919 [Box 21] 21:19: Taylor. A girl sitting on a bench and holding flowers 21:51: Taylor. Woman wearing a corduroy jacket 5×7 Glass Negatives, undated [Box 24] 24:47: Taylor. Woman sitting on a bench
I have to get up there and take a look! How exciting!
Right now I’m at the point where I have a lot of documents and files. But, I know that as I continue researching I’m only going to collect more. I had one organizational system, then read about another I liked better, then another. For now, I’m happy with my naming conventions and more recently decided not to include the “de” or “da” in my Brazilian surnames…otherwise most would be under D. (Plus, there is the problem of those two last names which are really one, such as da Silva vs. da Silva Lima.)
Where the real indecision comes in is in the process. I can no longer remember every search I performed for every person, or every resource I used whether with positive or negative results. So the question I’m now faced with is – How do I organize the process of research?
Another question I keep asking myself is – What should be the “standard” order of procedures? For example, when I find a birth certificate how do I proceed. Here’s what I think I may do:
Save using the standard naming convention in the appropriate folder.
Add entry in research log. (This step will have to happen even if I don’t find anything.)
Transcribe/translate and save that file in the same folder. (Should I set up tables to make it look just like the original or just list all the information.)
Create a source citation for the document using RootsMagic and add to both the word document and in the metadata of the image.
Link the image into the database and add the transcription/translation to the detail notes section.
Using this same citation, copy it onto all events which it supports – in the example of the birth certificate I may use it for the birth date, parents names, parents ages, place of residence, etc.
Create a blog post to share my discovery.
Here’s the big question – Can, or should, I “move on” with my research even though I have piles of “stuff” to scan and analyze?
Since I have so much stuff to go through is it better to scan it all before proceeding? I don’t want to redo what I already have, but just don’t know about. This is the part of the “research” that isn’t my favorite…the housekeeping. In the end I know it will help but for now, I just don’t want to deal with it.
Why, its the study of the Lund's, of course! I am jumping in to researching our family history and seeing where it takes me. We are the Lund's. We come from Lund's, Ranson's, DeMacedo's, Lima's, Anderson's, Warner's, Ferreira's, Da Silva's and beyond! Since my own side of the family is from Brazil, it is quite difficult to track things down. Troy's side, on the other hand, has proven to be much easier. So, I'll be jumping back and forth and all around to learn about where we come from.
Are you related to us? I'd love to learn more about you and share what I know about our common ancestors!