Sunday, July 10, 2011

Old Files and New Ideas

The past couple of weeks have been very interesting.  I have not been blogging and I did take a few days off when my granddaughter, Bayleigh came to visit.  BUT I have not been idle . . .  Continuing from my last Blog, I have been going through past papers sent by cousins through the past 15 plus years.

I actually did not know where to start, I have 3 files cabinets, and probably 8 large plastic file boxes, a couple of small file boxes and loose papers in boxes and on book shelves.  I decided to start with the filing cabinet by my computer desk!  Easy enough! 

Right away I found I had a few choices to make:
·         Do I make digital copies and then throw the paper away? Or do I continue to keep everything?  Or do I keep just hard copies of my Direct lines, do I need hard copies of collateral lines, as long as I have digital copies with offsite backups?  What I decided, was to Keep original or copies of original paper, make digital copies of everything, even if I need to make new transcriptions of papers.  I would also look to see if I could find original copies of paper, obituaries, Birth, Marriage, death, records (I can’t afford to send away for them so hope to find free copies on line.  Also some cousins have sent me copies of their original papers, I will be keeping them, making digital copies of them and an attaching a copy in Legacy Family Tree.  Census records I will be dumping as long as I have a digital copy and an attached copy in Legacy Family Tree.  These are available in so many places on the Internet, I really do not feel I need to keep them, especially the ones that I transcribed 25 years ago.

·         I know that most of my sources are the bad style, So and So sent me an email; (sometimes dates and subjects were noted, not always.)  No notes if there was an actual copy of a newspaper or a transcription.  One thing I have learned over the last couple of months is that repetition of documentation is NOT a bad thing.  In a couple of Legacy Webinar of Geoff Live, I saw that he was entering the information not only as an Event, but also in the text in the source citation.  I did not understand, even though I had become frustrated many times looking at a source for a residence and the only note was that it was the Obituary of a relative.  I would then have to go back to that relative, read the obituary again, and tell myself, “oh yeah, that is why that is sourced that way.”  Would have been a lot easier to see the transcribed copy in the Source Citation.  So this started to make sense to me and this past week, I have been changing my ways.  Yes it may takes a bit more time now, but it will be better in the long run.

·         Another thing I realized was that some of the information that I have is old and outdated.  In the beginning, most of us only had about dates and locations were only the states.  As we have discovered more records we have been adding the new information.  I want to credit everyone with everything they have contributed over the years, but wonder if I should keep a date of about 1850 from one cousin, when we have learned later from another cousin, that the date was actually 3 January 1853.  Should I be keeping both dates with both sources?  Some of the family had about 10 about dates of births from different cousins, should they all be listed?  I am still undecided what is the correct way to handle this.  Do I make notes that Cousin 1, 2, 3 & 4 had it close but not cigar?  And Cousin 7, 8 & 9 were nowhere close?  I don’t think I would like to be a source that is way off when someone else had the correct information.  Hmmmm . . .

So these are just three of the changes I have discovered so far that I will be implementing, I am sure I will find a lot more as I go through the old files.  One of the other things that I have discovered about myself is that I really feel good cleaning up the sources and information in my Legacy Family Tree and digital files and paper work.  But I also enjoy the hunt and I still have lots of that to do.  I realize this cleanup will take a lot of time BUT, I don’t want to quit finding new information as I go.  So I will need to make time for both.  Another thing is that I love learning new information about and how to do Genealogy.  But when do you draw the line that it is great to learn, but do not forget to DO, and that includes Blogging.

So I am back to the Old Files and hope to do more Blogging as I go!  ~smiles~