This is the final week of the first 'Genealogy Do-Over'. It actually finishes on Thursday 2 April 2015, and starts again the very next day with 'Week 1'. I thought I might not do the next cycle of 13 weeks, but on reflection, I just might. The reason is that I learned so many new things during this cycle, that I need (at least) another cycle to revisit them and shore up my learning.
Although the topics looked enticing, I soon realised that to try and apply them to my entire family tree would very quickly drive me crazy, so I looked at it and decided to apply the Do-Over to my BLAGDON line, as that was the one that had the least work done on it. (BLAGDON was the maiden name of my paternal grandmother: Elsie Beatrice BLAGDON, 22 July 1908-2 Feb 1975.) The research I had done on that particular line had taken me back to 1800 - and there I had stopped. Too many mysteries along the way, too many people with the same name - and I was making such great strides with my other ancestors on other lines, that these others became BSOs (bright shiny objects - the sort you drop everything for and go off chasing here, there, and everywhere). So I buckled down to it, and plunged into the BLAGDON line.
Immediately I began noticing success.
- I wrote out a Research Plan
- and a Research Log (If you're reading about this for the first time, I strongly recommend you take a look at the Do-Over, and its companion group on Facebook)
- I revamped and rebuilt my Research Toolbox
- I investigated genealogy education (on- and offline)
- I made checklists and applied them to each person
I SLOWED DOWN. AND WROTE IT DOWN.
Truly, I didn't realise I was moving so fast. Now, I'm not saying that 'fast' is all bad. In certain cases, you want 'fast' (like if you are having a heart attack, you want the ambulance to get to the hospital fast). But I was going so 'fast', I was skipping over and entirely missing important information. And I wasn't writing it all down, which meant that I was doing the same search twenty times over (and doing it fast) because I wasn't sure if I had already done it.
Who knew? I'm 55; a grown woman with many years of experience behind me. I teach people how to make a start on their own genealogy! I advise strongly against the 'scattergun approach' or dipping here and there - fast. Why has it taken me 35+ years of research to realise that I needed to Slow Down and Write It Down? I think I know why. It's because I want patience...and I want it NOW!
and the BLAGDONs? More mysteries, more people with the same name - and a new dilemma: a potential link to a wealthy family going back to the early 1600s - but are they 'mine'? The ancestors I had found previously were humble dockyard workers, brickmakers and farm labourers. Am I right in thinking I am linked to gentlemen landowners? But this hasn't put me off. Now, I feel more confident in my researching methodology.
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