Friday, January 9, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over, My Way: Rules of Engagement and Progress

Headng into Week Two, I have managed to avoid the “shiny objects” pretty well this week.  I also heard some great presentations on organization and time management at Virtual APG.

Here are My Rules of Engagement:
1.      I will set up a new tree as my “source of truth” using either RootsMagic or Legacy Family Tree.
a.      To start, I will enter only “bare bones” data (BMD) for no more than 5 generations back.
b.      I will add supporting media and documentation for each item added to the new tree at the time of adding it.
c.      I will use standard source citation formats to document in my tree.
d.      I will decide which software to use by the end of the 13 week do-over.

2.      I will set up a new file system on Dropbox for all my current electronic documents.
a.      I will use the “Lastname_Firstname_ date_document type” naming convention instead of my current one.
b.      Currently held items will be moved and renamed as they are added to the new tree.

3.      I will use a research log and the “to-do” list function in the new tree to track the items I want to follow up on or search for in the future.

4.      I will use the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge as a method to expand the information I have on existing people or to add new people to my tree.
a.      I will focus on what documentation I already have and search for new information only for the Ancestor of the week.

5.      I will follow the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS). The GPS consists of five elements:
a.      A reasonably exhaustive search;
b.      Complete and accurate source citations;
c.      Analysis and correlation of the collected information;
d.      Resolution of any conflicting evidence;
e.      A soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.

I still have not committed to color-coding, but I will continue to evaluate doing this.

Reading through the Do-Over Facebook page for ideas and suggestions.  Investigated several web sites and blogs on organization and managing images/photos.  Learning a lot!

As a test, I have started saving some things to Evernote, particularly information which has one or more images and requires a translation or information.  Rather than keep the information in several files, they will be in one. 

I have set up my “skeleton tree” in both RootsMagic and Legacy to test which I like working with better.  I am focusing on my “52 Ancestors” targets to work with the trees and fill them in.

So far so good!


  1. Caron, I've been following the Genealogy Do-Over, reading comments and blogs that are shared, but I haven't committed. As you know there is so much that could be read but much can only be skimmed through. I actually read this post from start to finish. It was concise and so much like what I did last year while doing the 52 Ancestors challenge and will continue to do this year. Good luck with your Do-Over and I hope it will help you find the keys to open the doors in your brick walls! ~ Cathy

  2. I'm looking at the same software choice as you and am interested in your thoughts as you exercise the different features. I have downloaded the free versions of both Legacy and RootsMagic, and have been reading and experimenting. Obviously the full (paid) product for each has more function, and in order to get a true comparison, it's tempting to buy them both. But I sure wish I could "know" which one is right for me before plunking down money on yet more software. Of course, everyone's personal preference will be different, and both programs look quite good. There's no perfect decision...