One of my genea-goals for 2016 is to become better-educated and informed about genealogy and its elements, so that I can be a super-duper genealogist and go on lots of wonderful gene-adventures.
To keep myself accountable and on-track, I went through a process of deciding what elements I want to learn, identifying where I could learn about them, then setting up a calendar of webinars for myself. I also decided to write about each piece of learning, both to reinforce what I hear, and to assure myself that I am actually keeping up with my goal :-)
Given it's still early in the new year, and I'm working on the Finally Get Organized! series, I thought my first few webinars should continue in this theme. So for most of February, I'll be learning a lot more about getting organised.
I started with a podcast from www.geniesdownunder.com.au As the name suggests, this wonderful site has lots of information and support for Australian genealogists and, every month, a podcast is broadcast. There are over 50 now!
The one I just finished listening to is called "Planning stuff for genies: Getting ready for family history research in 2012" because I figure that planning is pretty much the same, whether it's 2012 or 2016!
The calm and soothing voice of Maria Northcote led me through a number of ideas, tips and helpful hints to get me and my genealogy organized.
Firstly, Maria spoke about the need to actually set goals, rather than just muddling around or madly jumping from one thing to another. Like Amy Johnson Crow, she recommends keeping the goals simple and achievable, in order to build confidence and maintain motivation.
For Maria, there are 6 sections of genealogy and goals are drawn from these sections:
- new stuff - new information, new research, new clues to follow
- old stuff - the need to organise, review, label, sort, etc is ongoing and continuous
- write stuff - stories about our ancestors need to be shared with others
- request stuff - from other family members, friends, colleagues, neighbours, fellow genies we can find photo's, documents, books, diaries, recipes, artefacts
- learn stuff - new or expanded skills and knowledge
- equipment stuff - discover and use the tools, equipment, products that can help us
Once goals have been decided, Maria recommends working out the "proportions" of time that need to be spent in each area.
Her third and final step is to identify the tools that help us keep moving forward on our goals - calendars, software, apps, etc.
My take-away points:
- Use highlighter colours to differentiate among actions on a list. For example, Maria uses pink to indicate "to do", green to indicate the action is linked to another, yellow to indicate she's waiting on something/someone else. I will definitely take on this little tip to help me figure out where I'm up to!
- Set 1 small goal for an ancestor, turn it into a research question, and stick with it till you have an answer. This will help keep research manageable and achievable, and will prevent that feeling of being overwhelmed and having too much to do. Very do-able!
- When you're feeling "stuck" on research, turn to a goal from another of the 6 sections mentioned above. Doing so will help maintain interest, and keep that sense of progress. A great tip for me, as I do tend to think that the actual research is the only "real" aspect of genealogy.
Despite having heard similar messages before, I found this podcast refreshingly practical. Perhaps it's the Australian accent, or the lack of jargon - or both! Take the time to visit www.geniesdownunder.com.au; you'll be glad you did :-)