15 January 2013

A new year is a new opportunity to bring needed focus to our research!

So many choices -- how do we keep our focus?
Source: http://www.ghmchs.org/thisweek/photo-listing_files/GrandviewYard.jpg

New Years resolutions.  Did you make any genealogical ones?  

I will admit that a personal resolution was to start a food diary – sitting at my computer or in an archive and doing genealogical research is not helping my physique!

On the genealogical front, I always start out the year by archiving all closed client research projects from the previous year – whether paper files, electronic files, e-mail files, etc.  As I file the paper file, I also  create a DVD backup file, make a copy of that file on what I call an “offboard” drive (a hard drive only used for archiving), archive the associated e-mail and make sure that I have a virtual backup copy (I use Crashplan).  Can you tell that I’ve suffered a few computer crashes in my day?!?!

Once I’ve done all of the above, I then turn to research.  A great thing about a new year is that it is also an opportunity to start “fresh.”  It doesn’t matter whether you are continuing some research started before or shifting to a new family, branch, location, etc.

If you found that you felt a bit fragmented in your research approach, distracted by records that were more interesting than helpful, etc, in 2012, then I suggest that you read Kimberly Powell’s (About.com) post, Focusing Your Family History Search: How to Keep Your Genealogy Research on Track

Her intro says it all. If you answer yes to any of the questions she postulates, do read the full article!

Have you ever begun an evening researching Great Grandma Emeline and found yourself browsing online census records for your spouse's family instead? Does a new message board post or other genealogical discovery distract you from what you were doing and send you off willy-nilly in a new direction? If your family history search has left you feeling like you're in the middle of a tornado with papers, files, clues, and theories flying around and around, you are not alone. For all of you family historians wandering aimlessly from clue to clue here are some tips for pulling everything together and keeping your research on track.

She gives some great tips that can only “help” us as we start a new year of genealogical and family history research.

I also discovered a piece by Gena Philibert Ortega, FamilyHistory Expos.com, Weekly TIp: 5 Tips to Get Your Genealogy Back on Track.

Did a tip of theirs particularly strike a chord with you? Do you have a tip for “keeping on track” with our research that they didn’t mention?  Can you suggest resources that might help a struggling or budding genealogist develop good focused research skills?

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