Sunday, October 4, 2015

Genealogy Do Over

What is a “Genealogy Do Over”?  Well, it is a learning program that I have been following.  A very well-known gentleman in the genealogy community has provided information on how to “do” genealogy correctly, such as citing your sources (which is the biggest failure that we have all done) to research strategies, organization, providing forms to help with your research, etc.  His name is Thomas McEntee and he has a group on Facebook specific to the Genealogy Do Over and can be found here:  You can also check out the following page on his blog where he further explains what this is about and why he started this group:

On the Facebook page if you look under the "Files" tab, there are the weekly things to "do over" with your genealogy all listed in PDF format per week.  This is a 13 week plan that is now in its 4th Cycle for the year.  It is currently on Cycle 4, Week 1 so this is a great time to check out the information.  There are also free forms to download (submitted by both Thomas McEntee and the people that are following his “Do Over” plan).  The Group provides you a chance to ask questions about, as well as learn information about, the different aspects you are presented with for each week.

This is what Thomas McEntee put on his blog which kind of explains what the Genealogy Do Over is all about:

“Back on 15 December 2014, I made a big announcement: I was getting rid of 20+ years of past genealogy research and starting over. Some people said I was crazy. Some people said the idea was just “stupid” and wasteful.
But almost 10,000 genealogists and family historians have either been actively participating in this crazy project or have followed it over at the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook Group. Many have said that they finally have a methodology and format for research that they can live with AND that can bring them results.
Still more have taken the collaborative effort to heart and have shared their own work, their own templates as well as tips and tricks. The Genealogy Do-Over has been as close to a “genealogy hack-athon” and an exercise in group problem solving as I could want.

With all of the organization I have been doing as a result of this project, I can now find things instead of spending hours trying to locate information in different areas of my home.  I only have one (1) more family line to fill out Family Groups Sheets on in an effort to see what types of information I don’t have so I can more easily find that information  The family I have left  is the Scott side of my family (my mother’s ancestors).  I have located information on the Internet going back several generations, however, we all know not to take the Internet for granted.  I will need to prove the existence of each of those family members and try to locate their birth, marriage, and death information to try and prove that connection.

Please head on over to Thomas McEntee’s Blog or Facebook page and I highly suggest joining his group on Facebook if you want to learn how to do genealogy correctly the first time so you don’t end up like me.  I had information spread all over the place that contained no source citations and couldn’t find any documents I needed when I needed them (and of course couldn’t find the place where I got that information since the source citation wasn’t listed).  Source citations are used in an effort to allow others to find your information for themselves should they look at or copy your documentation.  Documents with source citations are considered “facts”.  Documents without source citations are considered “possible facts” which need to be explored further by a genealogist to find “facts” (and make sure you provide source citations to those documents when you find them).

Some documents and sources are considered “Primary” and others are considered “Secondary”.  Primary sources are those documents that were created by someone who was at the event when it happened (Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, diary pages, etc.) and Secondary sources are those documents where someone different supplied the information (such as Birth Date and Place of Birth on a Death Certificate).  Most likely, the person supplying that information was not there at their birth and only provided information they were “told”.  That documentation needs to be supported by other documentation (preferred Primary source) to be considered “fact”.

I digress, and I apologize.  I have learned so much from the genealogy community and I enjoy sharing my knowledge.  I wish you the best of luck in your search for ancestors!  I will continue “Searching for Ancestors” myself when the opportunity arises, and will post information as I locate it.

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