Friday, July 3, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over (Cycle 3) Is Starting Today! Week 1 Begins

Today marks the beginning of the third cycle of the Genealogy Do-Over, a thirteen week cycle of activities that Thomas MacEntee dreamed up at the end of 2014. I think of it as something of a combination of a New Year's Resolution and genealogy bankruptcy.

The idea behind the Do-Over is simple. We all began our genealogical research before we knew how to do it. As a result, we developed bad habits, and bad information snuck into our trees. We didn't cite our sources, record where we found things or who told us information, trusted online trees, etc.

In addition, we developed inefficient habits. We searched without a goal or a strategy. We followed shaky leaves and got distracted. We forgot to be methodical and left gaping holes in our work.

So the proposal is to set aside what we've already done and start over, except in a more organized, thorough and methodologically correct manner. We can use original records that we paid for, etc. but should start afresh otherwise.

Three Topics for Week 1

Setting Previous Research Aside

Now, lots of people have tried doing this program in the first two cycles. Some were purists, and others modified the program to work with their existing work (what MacEntee calls a "Go-Over.")

In my case, I will likely hew closer to the pure process, but not necessarily in the order that he lays out. It is not that I am super-eager to get back to researching, but rather that I am super-eager to jump ahead in the organizing topics.

I am planning on incorporating my old records and digital files into my new research, and I am trying to organize the study where I work, so I will continue to organize the hard files with papers that are sitting around in piles.

Also, I am excluding from this process my genetic genealogy work, which is kind of on a separate track. However, I will be trying to be methodical and document what I am doing with that as well.

Preparing to Research

Part of my preparation is getting the study organized, cleaned up, etc.  I am also reviewing my Evernote tags, and figuring out what tools and supplies I may need.

Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines

This is what I am mostly going to be working on this week. I have a number of ideas in mind, and there are a number of things that I do without being conscious of them, but I believe that the point of this exercise is to be intentional and to be aware of these practices, so that we can consistently incorporate them into our work.  So I will post again on this in a few days.

So How Long Will I Really Do This?

One of the benefits of having a blog in that it will hopefully discipline me to follow this, since I am making a public proclamation of my activities.  Of course, very, very few people read this blog, and most of them I don't know, so the public shaming element is fairly minor, but it still is there, and should inspire me to continue to post.

Let's see how it goes.