1 Feb 2015

Gendover Week 3; A Little Behind

'Time Flies' by Robert Couse-Baker, available under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 licence.

This week is actually week 5, however I'm still on week 3. This is because life happened. I so wanted to be able to stick to my schedule of researching the topics on the Tuesday, and posting my results up here on either the Wednesday, or if I needed more time the following Friday before Thomas released the next topic.

But this didn't happen. Work was busy, there was lots of rugby going on which included a trip to France, I launched my business website, and then I was sick. Oh and telling myself that I was failing because I hadn't got things done that I'd wanted to didn't help my anxiety state either.

So I had a little 'ARGH' moment in the Facebook group and was quickly reminded that there is no test at the end of it, there is no 'due date' on the weeks. We don't have to do it all at once. It is not a race. So I thank you for that. I needed it.

And that's the joy of doing this as a community. This is where I fell down on my last attempts. I gave up because I stressed myself out about it.

So I got back on it. A good point of being a bit behind is that I get to read the other blogs out there to see what's going on and how the community is reacting to the topics.

Week 3; How to conduct and track your research.

With my One-Name Study I'm very good at tracking my research. I record where I've looked, what I've looked for and if it's been a successful search or not. I found 'Genealogy: Essential Research Methods' by Helen Osborn to be extremely useful. She has a section dedicated to why it is important to track both positive (successful) and negative (unsuccessful) search results.

When tracking searches I will include the following;

Date search conducted
This is important, especially when searching online databases as they are often updated.
Name searched
Noting variant spellings, use of wildcards etc.
Name of database
Recording this here makes it easy to create citations.
Location of database
Be this the url (usually to the launch page of the database as this contains information about the data contained with the collection as opposed to simply www.ancestry.co.uk etc.), the name of the library or repository if offline.
Dates searched
Timespan covered.
Self explanatory (I hope!)

But I'd never done this for my personal history!

And this is one of the main reasons I wanted to start over.

I also want to track the certificates that I've bought so I don't waste any more money! The use of the research log is part of this, and it is vital part of my new 'Golden Rules' as set out in Week 1.

Thomas's research log which he has kindly shared here looks complex and a little bit scary to begin with, but if you look at the 'Sample Log' tab you can see it's quite simple logical. You note down what you're looking for and then you separate the search into manageable bits. I'll be adapting his log to include what I've stated above.

Thomas also includes his 'To-Do' list here. I'll be separating mine out, because this works better for me. I don't always think of things to do whilst I'm researching, I'll often have a random thought on the way to or from work when I only have my phone with me. Having to open the entire spreadsheet in GoogleDocs on my phone doesn't work for me. I'll be setting up a separate list with something that can sync across devices. For now I'm using Google Tasks, but there's probably something better out there.

Conducting research is the second part of this week's topic. However I won't be doing any research until this thirteen week programme has been completed. I want to ensure that I have all my processes in place before I dive back into the research. I don't want to have to come back to the start again in another five years because I've started doing something a bit differently. 

I plan to re-assess this topic at the end of the thirteen weeks. Then I should have a better idea of what I want need to do first.

Note: I have not provided a link  for Helen's book as I don't want you thinking I'm affiliated to any sales or whatnot. I'm sure you can all use Google or your favourite online book retailer to find a copy if you want to. I just think it's a great book.