Sunday, January 18, 2009

Genealogy Journal 1/17/09

Today I did genealogy for 2.5 hours. I focused on finishing up my Smith obituary project. I got all 16 of the Smith family obituaries entered into my family tree maker software. I was still frustrated with the sourcing component of the software though. It takes so long to enter source information and then copy and paste it into every fact that I enter and want to source.

I entered the source information as the "first name last name, obituary" as the title. I put the newspaper's name as the publisher - most of these obituary clippings that Doris sent to me did not have dates or newspaper titles included with them, so I had to infer based on my knowledge of when it might have been published what the local newspaper's name was. Then I ented Fort Smith, Sebastian Co., AR as the publisher location and the relevant publish date. For the source repository, I have put Doris' name, since she was the one who sent these clippings to me in the mail. I also included her email address and a quick summary of her relationship to the family. The only field that has a drop down box is the repository. I have to enter Publisher, location and date every time I create a new source. The other thing I don't like about FTM's sourcing component is that the sources are listed by source name instead of author. So when I go scrolling through the source title list, I cannot locate a particular person's entry. My workaround for this: I only enter author information if it is a published book. If it is an email or letter or information on the web, I put their name, email addy, and relationship all as the source title.

Once I muddled through creating source entries for each obituary record I reviewed, I then entered dates, places, and relatives' names mentioned in the obits and copied to source information to each of those facts (in abbreviated form). Usually in my source entry I copy the relevant information supporting the fact I've entered it for. For example, I enter the date of birth and place as a fact. I then add my source as "John Doe Obituary." In the Citation Text box, I copy the exact wording from that source: "John Doe was born 2 Feb 1900 in Anywhere US." I also copy this same source and citation text information in the notes section of my database because usually I don't like to have to scroll down to the bottom of a 20 page family report to see what the source was. Because I had so many obituaries to enter today, I skipped this step. I simply added the source information to the fact. In another abbreviated fashion, I only added text for the obituary in the notes section of the person who was deceased. Normally I would add a note to the child who was mentioned in the obituary..."mentioned as a surviving daughter living in Anywhere, US in father, John Doe's obituary, 2 Feb 1900, anywhere US." Again, because I had so many obituaries to enter, I did not add obituary text to the notes section of related names. Using this abbreviated method, I was able to enter information on 16 obituaries in under 3 hours.

I also received 5 obituaries from the O'Neal family who married one of my Smith ancestors. I had to send several emails to Doris to piece together this O'Neal family as I had not yet started researching them. I also looked them up in the census reports. I was able to piece together most of this family. For the obituaries of O'Neal family members that I could not definitively connect, I entered them into my FT database and will attach them to a family once I figure out who they are connected to.

I feel accomplished today. I actually focused on one project until completion. My next step will be to print family group reports for each of the lines I entered information for and to file them in an organized fashion. I may not get to this right now, although I should, so I can firmly complete this project. However, I know this will drag the project out a lot longer because I have a tendency to want to make the family group sheets "Perfect" - I try to go back and look for information that is missing from the family group sheets, ie, a census report - and that takes time. So much time that I end up not accomplishing my original goal of printing and filing the family group sheets.

My resolution for this year: accomplish the goal I set. And that starts with doing something with the box full of documents and information I have found over the past couple of years that is just sitting there waiting to be entered into my computer. And doing so BEFORE I find and save MORE information that I don't have time to do anything with.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a great idea. I have tons and tons of information I need to get organized. Thanks for the information.