Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Genealogy Do-Over

I've said it myself, a hundred times, "It would just be easier if I started over from scratch."  Not all of us are professional genealogists.  Most of us started down the path of researching our family history out of curiosity and then, one day, found ourselves knee-deep in files, photos, documents - some of it organized, most of it in some degree of chaos.  And it seems that this state of affairs is not exclusive to the amateurs among us.  Even the professionals don't always get it right - like Thomas MacEntee.

Thomas is a genealogist.  His background is in information technology, and he has taken those skills and adapted them for genealogy.  His genealogy business is called High Definition Genealogy.  He also created an online community of family history bloggers known as Geneabloggers.   His most recent endeavor, Hack Genealogy is his attempt at "re-purposing today's technology for tomorrow's genealogy."  You can learn more about Thomas by clicking here.

So Thomas is setting out on a Genealogy Do-Over and is inviting us to come along on the journey.  Here is a description from his blog:

Genealogy Do-Over: A New Journey of Genealogical Discovery

Here is the short summary of Genealogy Do-Over: I set aside everything* related to my genealogy research including notebooks, papers, and even digitized files and my genealogy database files and START OVER. I’m hitting the reset button. I’m allowing myself to have a do-over! (* certain items such as vital records ordered and paid for or research gathered on a long-distance trip will be retained).

Since I started my initial research, much has changed in the areas of genealogy research methodology and education. I now realize the need to collect facts and track them properly, including the use of source citations. I now understand the process of analyzing evidence and proving facts to reach a conclusion. In essence, I know a lot more about the “process” of genealogical research and I want to put it to use.

This is not to say that I haven’t been following proven guidelines when it comes to finding family history. For my research clients (mostly pro bono), I actually employ all the methods that I advocate as well advocated by many in the genealogy community. However, currently when it comes to my own research, I’m not walking the walk, I’m just talking the talk.

And it isn’t always easy to “walk backwards” and review each and every bit of information gathered over the years. Instead, I want to do more than re-walk a trodden path: I want to head out from the same starting point but see where the journey takes me this time. I’ll have better tools, better knowledge and be better equipped for each twist and turn. And again, I encourage you to join me on this journey.

The Genealogy Do-Over journey is constructed of 13 mileposts or journey markers which I’ve laid out over 13 weeks. You can choose to pace yourself differently. You can even decide to drop some of the less important tasks and add your own. Do whatever it takes to ensure that you are on firm footing to finding your ancestors.

If you would like to learn more or join in this unique learning experience, here's how to get started:

  • Read the original announcement here (http://www.geneabloggers.com/announcing-genealogy-doover/).

  • Review the list of scheduled topics here (http://www.geneabloggers.com/tag/genealogy-do-over/).

  • Stay tuned for a new domain - http://www.genealogydo-over.com - and look for more announcements before the 2 January 2015 start date.

So if you are interested in going along for the ride because you find yourself in the exact same place as Thomas - or if you are thinking about a do-over for yourself and want to see how successful he is before you begin - here is your opportunity.

Nothing like starting off the New Year with a plan!

-- Submitted by Linda Mecchi

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