I was first introduced to genealogy about six or seven years ago. How that happened is a story to save for another post. But as a result of a phone call, from a stranger, looking to solve his own genealogy problem, I became involved. In my thoughts each day I thank him for opening this door for me.
And, as all genealogists know or learn quickly, ignorance is bliss. I hope when you finish this story it will be helpful to all the newbies that are, happily, joining our group and a reminder to us 'middlies' the learning never stops. A part of being a careful accurate genealogist is becoming a life-long learner. Ah, well, back to my story.
In the beginning I found a free site called Tribal Pages where I could begin to build a family tree. And I began with my father's side of the family and what I was sure was accurate (ha!) for this challenge. Here is what I knew. My dad came to this country with his mother (Victoria) and one older sister. Another sister had come earlier as had Victoria's brother, Isaac. The sister, Bertha, who arrived first was the oldest in this country. Two older sisters and my dad's father had died in Romania many years before. I happily added lots of others all over the family. It was fun to see it grow. I finally did move on to using Family Tree Maker and was linked to Ancestry.com.
A few conferences, library visits and webinars later I held fast to my firm, but as I now know, wrong assumption that I was moving along in a clear and organized way. Just recently the younger generation of my Talmage, Talmici, Talmaciu family wanted to focus on that family only. Yes, you noticed. It had 3 spellings over the few years. Multiple names are another thing we need to learn to accept as we struggle with becoming an accountable genealogist. In the process of trying provide them with information they were missing I learned a LOT about what I was NOT doing to best help myself. This new effort has quickly shown me many of the errors I have been making during the 'up to now' process. I have made much more work for myself.. although not meaning to do so.
Part of the search process includes a lot of searching and recording all the places you have searched and record it all. I was told this over and over.It is called a Research Log. Did I listen? No. Shame on me. I should have listened to those who were already in the know. As a result I am backtracking over the many duplicates in my collection of evidence documents. I am trying to be a better organized genealogist. It does take time, time, time to redo; to look at what I have collected and do a backward, not forward, list of what is really accurate and determine and NOTE what I still need to find.
I am trying a few new steps to both organize and move forward, at least a bit, in the process.
1.The first thing I did was to join Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy DoOver Group 2016 and am hoping to rejoin to do it right in 2018 . If you join, try hard to keep up and do what you can. You can always continue and become even better organized.
2. The first month's job in the Do-Over is to organize your collected data. WOW! I found out a lot about me. I had duplicates of many things, pages that I did not realize I had already found, families in wrong folders. Just cleaning up that part has taken me all of the work time of the first year (blush, cover eyes in embarrassment) and it still needs more organization time.
3. BIG lesson learned. Take one family or family segment at a time. That is one of the biggest things I have learned. Even within the selected family decide how you will organize the different smaller groups that make up the group; make a plan and stay with it if it works for you. If it does not work be sure to search for help.
Look for help from experts. Join your local genealogy organization. Take advantage of the help that is available online. Google search genealogy webinars. See what YouTube has to help you increase your skills. Your will be amazed at the resources that are just waiting for you to find them.
So, where am I right now? Well, I have recognized the need for some special help. I am doing an independent study with a person with far more expertise than I will probably ever have. I am taking one small family segment and trying to find the missing information. I will keep you informed about how it is going. In the meantime, if you have any ideas about organization of research, feel free to drop a line. Nice part of genealogy is that it does help make you a life long learner. I will be back soon to let you know how it is going.