With all the buzz and commentary in the news right now about Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do-Over, it got us to thinking. As the editors of an online publication devoted to Kentucky genealogy and local history, how could, or should, we participate in this year-long research “do-over”? At first, we thought it was all about throwing out everything you have done and starting over from scratch. That sounded horrifying to us and I personally shuddered to think of people tossing years of research and accumulated documentation into the trash. But the more we talked about it, the more we thought, hmmm. Could you, for instance, take this as a mighty nudge to actually review and re-organize some part of your research or family tree that you have been avoiding because it seemed so overwhelming that you just turned away in despair?
I don’t know about you but there are definitely parts of my research that I would do differently if I were starting them now, having learned new tricks and/or research skills. I also have specific types of records that I have avoided because sorting them out is going to take me hours and hours of time charting and comparing to determine just how much information they actually tell me. I know that other genealogists/historians out there face many of the same issues. Perhaps a less extreme way to think of your goals for 2015 is not as a “Do-Over” but as a “Do-Better.”
What if you pledge to make 2015 the year you learn a new research skill and apply it to each family line? What if you were to decide to switch to a new software program and enter each name from scratch, actually following your research log and documentation criteria and citations from a source like Evidence Explained? I think there is something to be gained from reviewing and renewing your research from time to time. Let’s make 2015 the year to: “Do More Research, Better.”
To help you with this resolution, the editors at Kentucky Ancestors Online will be focusing on our How To articles. Over the next 12 months we will be publishing articles on using Tax records effectively, on preparing for a research visit to a new archive or repository, and on using maps and other visual resources to better understand the environments your ancestors inhabited. However, we also encourage you to share your research triumphs. As you “Do More Research Better” please think about sharing your skills and experiences with others through Kentucky Ancestors Online. Our readers would to love to hear more about your experiences as the year progresses.
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