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Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Year - New Focus

The New Year is rapidly approaching.  What do you have on your "to-do" list that did not get done in 2012?  My list is not so bad, if I trim it back to the most important tasks.

Let's decide what tasks, when completed, will give you the most bang for your buck.  For instance, speaking of research and genealogy, Grab your research tick list.  You know the one I mean.  The list that you should have for every lineage that your are working on. What?  You don't have one?  No wonder you are not farther along on your family history research.

Step one for the New Year : Start a tick list, research chart, spreadsheet, or whatever you want to call it.  One per family line is a good start.  Go through your researched data and find out where all the holes are.  Do you have a birth, marriage and death record for everyone in each family line?  If not, then that should go on your tick list.  Start a research plan for each item that you need to find.  Think about where you would find that data.  Have you already looked at certain sources without success?  Be sure to make a note of those on your research plan, as a reminder of where you've been.  Saves time in the long run.  Make a note of sources that you have not checked, on-line or in repositories such as libraries, historical societies, courthouses, county record offices, etc.  As you search each of those, make note of the date, time and place, and of course, what you have found, or did not find.  Keep it up until you find that vital information that you are missing.

Along the way, you might come across other information of interest for your research.  Don't pass it up.  Jot it in your log, make a copy or scan it if possible, and add it to your "folder" of data.  Then continue on your original search for your data that is missing.  You will eventually find it.  Don't give up.

You might, however, get tired and weary if it happens to be a piece of information that doesn't seem to want to be found.  That's OK.  We all hit those brick walls.  Put it down for a while.  Start on another search for missing data.  Perhaps you need to find marriage information for someone in the same family.  Make a research plan and follow through with it.  You can always come back to the first search project when you feel refreshed.

Here's the up side.  Sometimes you find what you were originally looking for while researching for information on another individual.  Missing a date of death?  How many times have I found a death date mentioned in news articles and documents while researching under another family member.  It happens more than you think.  I call those my "BINGO" moments.  It's like getting a two-fer researching on a single individual. You end up smiling big on those days.

Ready, set, go......get yourself organized for the New Year.  Stay on track.  Document your sources.

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