Thursday, 8 January 2015

Genealogy Do-Over Week 1: Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines

Don't beat yourself up; write things down; make backups

All right, I admit it.  In my previous post, I said that this one would be following 'tomorrow'.  Well, 'tomorrow' would have been several days ago.  And that brings me to my first Base Practice and Guideline of the 'Genealogy Do-Over' proposed by Thomas MacEntee:
  • Don't beat yourself up if you cannot get to your researching/blogging right away.
Maybe you were expecting (even hoping?) to see something more along the lines of research strategies, logs, plans, and checklists.  I will come to them later.   But this particular practice-and-guideline is something which is so basic, it needs to come in at No. 1.  While it may be allowable to be mildly annoyed at the fact that you have to work/go grocery shopping/whatever, which is keeping you away from your research, haven't we all had the experience where we don't do some genealogy, then beat ourselves up about it and put off doing anything constructive for a few days more?  By which time, we have forgotten where we got to, and it takes all our precious genealogy-time just to find the jumping-off point.
  • Don't pretend you are young and have superpowers (any more) - write it down.  Make lists.
You do all that yummy research and find trillions of juicy facts *coughs*, throw it into the genealogy database and go off and celebrate.  Or make dinner.  You come back the next day, and have completely forgotten where you found those trillions.  Or you downloaded a cracking good file, and now can't find it (because it's still called 'GBPRS_DEV_007341934_00046' or 'BL_0000328_18481019_011').  Or you look at your 4 x g grandfather's record and know you were going to look for his birth date, but you can't remember for the life of you where you were going to look... Where are your checklists? Where are your research logs?  Where are your research plans?
  • When you have done your researching/blogging, ALWAYS back it up.
I'm not talking proving-it-with-a-document here (although that's pretty essential, too).  I'm talking about backups, here.  On paper, on an external hard drive, in the name it.  But don't just name it.  Do it.

Doubtless, more base practices and guidelines will make themselves felt over the next 13 weeks of this Genealogy Do-Over.  But that's the whole point.  It's time to stop Knowing.  Slow Down and Start Learning.

© 2015 Ros Haywood. All Rights Reserved


  1. I still write everything down or print things out so I have it in black and white!

  2. Believe it or not, this is actually going to be one of my most difficult challenges. I love making lists, but still have the attitude of "See? I'm writing this list From Memory!" when I need to be depending on the list even more...



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