Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Even More Questions About Research Calendars

The Research Calendars post has got to be one of the most popular ones to date. Here are more questions about this topic.

Mori asks:
Do you put all of your Find A Grave photo requests on your research log?

Find-A-Grave photo requests are a little different. If the person is already listed on Find-A-Grave then I already know where the person is buried and I probably know their birth and death dates. The reason I request photos is that I want to see the marker for myself. Not only can I confirm the spelling of the name and the dates, but the style of the marker and the exact inscription can give me other clues. I keep track of this in Legacy Family Tree which is my genealogy database program. There is a built-in To Do List that is perfect for keeping up with this type of task.

Bennie asks:
So you have separate research and correspondence logs?

No. I used to a long time ago when I kept a single research calendar for each individual. I would have a research calendar and a correspondence log for each person I was working on. Now that my research calendars have a single goal, I put everything on that one form. If you prefer to do a single research calendar for each person then it makes sense to have a correspondence log to go along with it. Many people still do it this way and this is still the method recommended by the Family History Library. I don't do well with this method because I go off on tangents very easily and I need to stay FOCUSED FOCUSED FOCUSED. Working on a single goal at at time works better for me.

Anonymous asks:
You said that there are some resources you check again after a negative search [Anonymous is referring to a mention I made about Find-A-Grave and GenealogyBank]. Do you have some sort of written schedule for this like checking a site every 6 months?

I am not that organized or disciplined. Many times when I am stumped [brick wall] I set my research aside for a time and work on something else. When I pick it back up I go over everything I have already done. If I see that a certain search on a frequently updated website was negative I might decide to check it again.

Rachel asks:
Do you include your research logs when you share information with other researchers?

Not usually. Research calendars are a tool to help keep your efforts organized. I can't see a real need in sharing this with someone else. For example, let's say my goal was to find who Charlotte Seegar married. I have a research calendar of the things I did to try and find this marriage. I eventually find that she married Mathew Patton and I get a copy of their certificate. I then source the marriage correctly. When I share my findings with someone else, all that person will see is the fact of the marriage and the citation [Madison County, Georgia, Marriage Book A: 165, Mathew R. Patten-Charlotte Seegar, 1843.] Since I have a positive end result then there is no reason to include the process I went through to get there. The exception to this is if I didn't find what I was looking for and I am enlisting the help of someone else. I will send this person my calendar so that they don't waste their time looking at things that I have already checked. If you ever use a professional genealogist to help you with one of your brick walls then this is essential. You don't want to pay someone to redo all of the things that you have already done. It wastes their time and your money. One of the first things a paid consultant will ask you is what you have already done and what the results were. If you can present this information to them in an organized fashion things will go much better.

Mary asks:
Are there any other "logs" you use in addition to your research log? I thought that I could do everything in the genealogy computer program I bought so that everything is in one place.

You do whatever is best for you. You can keep this log in your genealogy program [I don't know which one you use]. If there isn't a specific research log/to-do list feature in your program you can easily just hand type it out in the notes. The reason I keep mine separate is because that is what works best for me to keep everything organized. If I put my research calendars in the notes section of Legacy it would get very cumbersome very fast since I have multiple goals for each person. Legacy's built in To Do List doesn't serve my purposes well for this one thing so that is why I do it in MS Word. The only other thing I have outside of Legacy are case study files in MS Word. If I am working on a particularly interesting brickwall that I might want to submit for publication, I have a case study document. It is a working document where I start to tell the story of how the brickwall was solved. It is where I pull everything together. Once the case study is finished, I will copy and paste it into my file but I need to Word document so that I can submit it. Other than that, everything is in Legacy.

Copyright © 2012 Michele Simmons Lewis

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