Genealogy Do-Over or Go-Over

A little over a year ago I joined a Facebook group called Genealogy Do Over. The group was started by Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers.com. You can read more about it here. The group first tackled a different topic each week for 13 weeks but the pace was too quick for some folks. Now Thomas hasRed-Button written the Genealogy Do Over Workbook, available in both Electronic and print forms, and it tackles a topic a month.  The premise of the group is that many of us had become name collectors and may have made mistakes in our research. The idea is to set aside all of your previous research and start over by first developing  base practices and guidelines for your research, then use fresh eyes to make sure you have everything properly documented and cited.  In so doing, you will find gaps that you have in your research and will become better organized. In the end you will have a better product in your family history.  Some of the folks on the list decided to do more of a go-over and others decided to completely start over. The nice thing about the group is you have folks to bounce ideas off of.  I had decided to do a go over as I had previously collected a lot of documents.  One thing I realized about myself is that I collected documents but didn’t really analyze them carefully and I didn’t develop a research plan, I just searched for things willy-nilly.  While ancestry.com is a blessing, it can also be a curse; it is just too easy just to attach documents to your tree without really examining them for the details. In my go-over, I am trying to download all of the documents to my computer so that I will have them in the future should I decide not to stay enrolled with ancestry.  As part of my process, I am organizing my digital files in a consistent manner and making sure that I have citations for all downloaded items and examining each document carefully. As a result, I discovered that my great grandmother was only 15 when she married and that my 2nd great grandfather couldn’t read or write and on the 1920 census I discovered that my great grandparents were living with a sister and her husband as well as my 2nd great grandparents. These are all little details that add to the story of my ancestors. It is a lot of work but my hope is to get my research into some sort of order that I can leave the “story” of my ancestors as a legacy to my descendants.

Pam Liebelt