Genealogical resolutions for 2016
As it is the start of the New Year, I feel it is time to make a few resolutions to improve my family history research in 2016.
I started this research some 10 to 12 years ago. At first it was very hit or miss, even dis-organised. The art of serendipity was all. Over time my research has became very disciplined but there is always room for imrovement.
1) Screenshots and notes.
When researching if I find something of interest regarding someone in one of my trees but not necessarily of any relevance to the subject in hand I take a screenshot or make a note. There is now a bulging file on my computer filled with these screenshots and notes named "Deal with later". I am changing the file name to "Deal with in 2016". I plan to have emptied this file by the end of the year and to have dealt with all the items therein. Who knows what treasures I may find in that file!
2) County Record Offices, National Archives, British Library etc.
I also have a file on my computer of screenshots of items I want to see in various county record offices, the National Archives and other archives or libraries. I intend to sort them out, prioritize the truly important items and then start visiting these places.
3) Military Records
I will admit that military records are something of a closed book to me. 2016 is the year I am going to get to grips with them. Then I will be able to add information about the military careers of all those in my various trees who were in the army.
4) Naval Records
The same as with military records.
5) Subscription sites
Firstly I will list all the sites I subscribe to. Then I will be able to see if I can rationalise them in any way so that I have fewer. I will also put a note in my diary as to the date the subscription falls due. Also a reminder that the fee is upcoming a month before it is due. Also check to see if there are other subscription sites which will be useful to my research.
6) Graves and memorials.
When planning visits to Record Offices I will check the churches in the locality to see if any ancestors are buried there. I will then include a visit the churches to try and find the graves. If I find any I will take photos.
7) Sources and citations
I have always been aware of the importance of backing up every statement with good sources (preferably a primary one) and correct citations. Up to about 2 years ago I printed out every item I cited - and if there was an image I would print that out as well. It became obvious that the amount of paper created was taking over all space in my house. Since then I have started downloading onto my computer all the images and just record the citation. It is my plan to download or scan all the images that I printed out and keep them in digital format rather than paper. This is an ongoing task and I am determined to spend a few hours every week on this task.
I have started scanning all birth, deaths and marriage certificates so that I have an electronic copy as well as a paper one. I am also doing the same with photos and other hand-written material. It is planned that this will be completed before the end of 2016.
We all know how important backing up our work on computers is. This year I intend to go one step further and create CD-ROMs (if that is the correct current term) of photos, scans and downloaded information for various family members.
10) On-going research and editing
I should not forget the on-going research and editing. I plan on researching one family group at a time to see what I have missed, to extend down the generations and to look at their FANs (Friends, associates and neighbours). Currently I am doing the Swinhoe family who are part of the "Beal Cooper and Edlin" tree and I am finding a lot of additional material.
I will report back at the end of the year as to my sucess or failure. I just hope that I have left myself enough time for genuine new research!