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Archive for February, 2015

When I first read through the task list, I didn’t think I would have much to do, but as I dug a little deeper there is definitely some work to be done. I did think about my software. I am a Mac User so my choices are a bit more limited. I’ve used Reunion for years and really like it. I tried Family Tree Maker when they came out with a Mac version, but it never really caught on for me. I like the way that it syncs with Ancestry, but that was the only real improvement. Reunion has an app and you can sync it manually. I’m hoping that at some point, they come out with a true sync capability because that is my only gripe with it.

I am in good shape with my scanning and digitizing. A few years ago, I scanned all of the documents that I have into Evernote and I just finished citing them all. Now, I am careful to scan, cite, and tag all of the new sources that I encounter. There are a lot of sources that are tagged in my Ancestry tree that are not in my Evernote. I’m hoping that that will be resolved as I re-enter all of my old information. I will make sure that I download scanned copies of these documents.

The one issue that I have is pictures. I currently keep my pictures in iPhoto. For my personal photos not related to genealogy, I’ve moved them to flickr and I have a few in Evernote. Evernote isn’t the greatest for organizing photos, but I’m leaning towards adding them to Evernote so all my genealogy data will be in one place. You can always open the photos in another application if you want to edit or make changes. This is also something that I plan to do as I re-climb the tree.

For on-going scanning, I have a wand scanner that I use for certain things, but often I use my iphone. I’ve decided to get a portable document scanner stand. They are cardboard or plastic stands that fold up and you can set the iphone in them. I think this will speed up the process, reduce the shadows that sometimes are cast on the photos and reduce the potential for fuzzy photos from your hand shaking. I’m still comparing, but hopefully will make the purchase in the next few days.

I don’t have too many issues with OCR. Evernote automatically OCRs everything and it does a pretty good job. Typewritten documents are fine and it even deciphers some handwritten ones. It generally can’t pick up anything from older, more difficult to read handwriting – but then again neither can I.

In my on-going projects, I reviewed the sources that I had been working on up until now and added the evidence analysis questions to the bottom of the note. The documents in question were fairly easy because they were mostly documents related to myself and my husband so they are relatively modern. It was interesting because I noticed that my parent’s names are not actually listed on my birth certificate. I have a few other documents that attest that they are my parents, but it was something I noticed for the first time during this round.

On to Week 8, I’m loving going over everything and I’m refining my workflow.

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This week I made modest, but good progress. The Do-Over is really helping me stay on track. In terms of online genealogy options, I focused my efforts on genetic genealogy. I recently received the results of my DNA test and I’m encouraging my dad to get one done as well. When I got my results, I realized I ad gaps in my knowledge so I started an Evernote list of resources that I discovered while googling. When the Do-over is complete I will go back and study the material. I did cheat a bit and used a leftover Christmas Amazon card to buy a genetic genealogy book

I like the idea of capturing evidence analysis. I struggled a bit incorporating it for myself because my primary project is a series of letters saved by my grandmother. I can’t really say that information is direct or indirect, primary or secondary because the sources are a bit more complex with tons of family history packed in each one. I will incorporate the idea though.

Typically every scanned source I have in Evernote has the citation then the scan then a transcript or abstract. I will begin to add evidence analysis information below the abstract. 

One resource I would add to the free online educational opportunities is the North Carolina Genealogy Society. They host webinars occasionally which are usually free for the first weekend. There happened to be one scheduled this weekend on pre 1919 vital records which I participated in.

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Last year, I decided to go through every scanned source and cite it. Since then I have kept up with my source citations and don’t add anything to my (virtual) research cabinet without a source. So half of this week was already done. I would really encourage anyone out there to do this. It took a while but the benefits have already paid off. While I was doing this, I also deleted numerous sources because I realized that without knowing where the information had come from, I really didn’t know what I was looking at.

I also tag all of my sources with a tag that starts with DT which stands for document type. So a birth certificate would say DT – Birth Certificate. This is a great shortcut for citing new sources. If I’m citing a new birth certificate, I can page through previous ones and find something similar to use as a template.

I like the idea of a genealogy toolbox and I’ve been copying links from various sources and capturing them in a note. I still have some work on this but the structure is there. In the future, I will try to be mindful and add links to the list as I research. This is especially useful for lesser known sites that might be hard to find again. I think it also can be used as a brainstorming tool. If I was trying to find an obituary, I could glance through the list to see if there were other sites that I hadn’t checked yet.

I’m also continuing to organize, cite, and source all the documents that I collected from my grandmother. I’m hoping to finish up this month, but there are a lot of documents. Once they are all in the system, I plan to do a timeline to review her life. I’ve already gleaned a lot of information as I scanned the documents, but I know I will learn so much more when I go through each line by line.

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