Tuesday, January 01, 2008

My Genealogy To-Do List for 2008

I’m excited for the year 2008 to come. I am looking forward to New FamilySearch going “live” all over the world. Since my temple district is in Utah and is reportedly scheduled to be one of the last it makes me all the more hyper to see the roll-out happen. I’m also excited to see all the commercial genealogy software developers’ show off their API to interface with NFS. March just doesn’t seem like it will come soon enough for that. So many neat new websites came out this past year and I still haven’t given them a far shot, i.e. WorldVitalRecords.com and Footnote.com are the tops on my list. I thought instead of making my genealogy resolution list I would just give you a peak as to what is on my genealogy to-do list this year.

1. Move from Legacy to RootsMagic as my genealogy software of choice. Legacy has served me well for many years and it is an excellent program. I just want/need something different. I also think with its layout I will enjoy using it better while interacting with NFS. March will confirm that suspicion to me, even if both programs had a major rewrite I still think the over-all feel of the programs will be the same and RootsMagic just does that for me. There are two things I need to do before I complete the move from Legacy.
A. The Geo-database was my deciding factor in using Legacy and I need to finish using this tool before the move. I like how Legacy will tell you if the county you have assigned for a locality is correct for the event time-frame. I will finish that tool then feel confident in making RootsMagic my primary database. I have done quit a bit on this part of the project but I realized I need to go back and make events for when the counties changed just to make the records read better and to use as a research tool. I want to have this locality clean up completed before NFS and the API Interface goes prime time.
B. RootsMagic doesn’t have the address field for the cemeteries. I need to go through all of those records and make them separate events so I can search on them. If anyone in RootsMagic know a work-around to this let me know! I think it best to complete this project while still using Legacy.
2. Organize my files on my computer – using Mary E. V. Hill’s Color Coding System on my four main family lines (blue, green, red, yellow). I have a program that will let me add color-coded file folders icons to organize them by. Everything Mary Hill does with paper and folders I will do digitally with all my records. Some rules I have thought of are:
A. File by last name, first, date, and document type.
B. When I file by locality I will go from the Largest to the smallest locality.
C. Keep a digital log of where everything is located
3. Transfer everything in my Treepad database over to EverNote. I have been a long time Treepad user but I think EverNote is a better program. Time and use will give me a better picture here. The main point is I need to kinda tear apart my organizing system and have some major re-doing going on. Some things in Treepad I want to turn into documents so I can file them and link them into my RootsMagic database. Some things need to be made into pages on my website. Others would just benefit from a different layout to make retrieval easier.

4. I need to have a Scanning Party – 2008 is going to be the year that I finally go digital. First I think I will join Scanfest (you can read about it here) The target date to begin scanning is January 27th 2008. Hopefully with a little help from my friends I will develop a new habit, find a consistent time to work on my scanning and get lots accomplished. I am planning on not only scanning all my photographs, documents, letters but also all my old genealogy magazines and paper syllabuses that I just can’t bring myself to throw away. After I finish scanning the magazines and syllabuses I plan on donating them to my local Family History Center. Wow, will I have some more space!

5. Document and organize everything I have scanned and record where it is located. All my photos will get labeled and put into albums or scrapbook pages. Then I will link the scanned images to individuals in my genealogy database. Scanned magazine articles and syllabus class outlines will be listed in a spreadsheet document so I can actually search and find them by subject. While I am at it I should do an inventory and catalog all my books so I can find all the resources I have on one single subject.

6. Something old - Move all my old Live Journal blog articles over to the new Blogspot address. It bugs me that I haven’t completed this project. I just want to make it easier to search for my old articles and finding anything on Live Journal is a joke.

7. Something new - Learn to write research summaries and keep a better research log of my failed online database search attempts.

Well as you can see 2008 is going to be a major move in organization for me. My friend Teresa just laughs at me, she thinks I’m already organized enough. I read every book on the subject and am totally obsessed with it. My goal is that should I leave this earth I want people to be able to pick up from where I have left off. Right now I know where things are but I’m not sure others would say so.

Oh, I’m good about the back-ups and such but I realized the other day that if I had a flood or fire wipe me out all my personal papers would be gone. I would be useless in providing a copy of my mortgage and title, my home insurance papers would be no where to be found. I don’t have scanned images of my children’s birth records, my marriage certificate, or my husband’s military service. I also don’t have an inventory of my household belongs. Yes I need to take care of that area also. Giving FEMA a copy of my mother’s death certificate will not impress them in the least. So when I scan and organize I am going to make sure my personal home records are done first. I will put them on a password protected flash drive and leave them in our cars in case of emergency.

I’m hoping that if my kids can find things based on what they do know then they will understand my organizing system for all the stuff they don’t know. Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when we don’t practice what to leave.

See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day.


Jud Wooters said...

I have been working on a digital filing system for a while. It's not easy to do ... for instance, if you want to file by name, what do you do if you have a census record? Do you file duplicates in every person's file?

The system I've been working on sorts by record type. Then, using an Access database, I keep track of what records relate to whom. I'm not quite done, but this will allow for very easy reports on what files contain what information. It also allows me to have a less complicated file system since I'll never have as many record types as individuals in my database.

Just thought I'd share my method.

Anonymous said...

try to build ur family tree online at www.famillion.com or www.jworld.famillion.com
I have done it recently and shortly after been informed about an uncle in Argentina that I didn t know I had. Now I am sharing photos and pictures with him through the system.
Famillion is unique among other genealogy sites as its tecnique merges family trees with the barest information.
Let s get all connected!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

hey, i know www.famillion.com
its one of my favborites and its FREE. i've always been drawn to delving into my geneological past and famillion helps me take it to the future.

Anonymous said...

Hi guys!

I have just built my family tree on www.famillion.com - let s see what happens.
The system seems to work!
I hope to find lost relatives...!!!!
by the way, they have launched another website www.jworldfamillion.com
I love the interface!!!
Peter from Sweden

Bernard said...

I've since moved to a Mac but one of the main reasons that I haven't switched from Legacy to a Mac genealogy program is because of GeoSearch. It's just too valuable to me. How do you plan on getting by without it? Do you have another way to do this?

Jud Wooters said...

Renee, looks like someone is trying to hijack your blog comments section to do some advertising ... I wonder what product they want us to use ... hmmmm.

Anonymous said...

Your comments on Scanfest reminded me of all the family pictures currently under my bed which need to be scanned.
But as for storing your infomation on a USB flash drive, password protected, the following questions arise:
(1) If you have several cars, it will be probable that you won't lose all of them plus your house. But if you're a single-car family and you get caught in a fire, as in San Diego, what then?
(2) If the drive(s) is/are password protected, how can you guarantee that your heirs will know the password when it comes time to use the data?

betinhou said...

When you use RootsMagic, the scanned document only needs to be placed in your genealogy multimedia file once. Then any number of people can be linked to that picture or document.

Jud Wooters said...

betinhou -- is that true? If so, that's fantastic! I only hope that Legacy 7 includes a similar feature as I've been spending quite a bit of time transitioning towards Legacy.

L.S. said...

After reading through your posts and testing some things out, I'll be migrating from PAF to RootsMagic. Legacy sure looked great, but lacked the portability and navigation options that are so important to me.

I started digitizing my records last year, and for lack of a better method, I set up a single "multimedia" folder with subfolders for each surname. The file naming convention was my biggest challenge. I finally decided on "[surname]-[initials]-[year of birth]_[item]" so what I get is "Kennedy-JF-1917_Inaug". The names look a little weird, but it sure makes things easy to find. So far, no problems.