Putting It All Together

FamilyI have been reading about the “Genealogy Do Over” that is currently in process. I think for a lot of people this is a great idea. Especially for those who, as a beginner genealogist, just added anything they found on Ancestry about their Ancestors without verifying the information or obtaining documentation.  About five years ago I did a “Do Over” only in a slightly different way.

I joined Ancestry.com when it first came out in 1997. I trusted that everything I found on there had been researched and documented. My excitement over this new way of finding my Ancestors clouded my judgment on so many of the lines I included in my tree.

In the “Genealogy Do Over” it is suggested that you totally start over by setting aside all of your research including notebooks, papers, and even digitized files. Then start over from scratch, not looking at any of your former research. This is actually a great idea for those who, like me, made the mistake of adding undocumented information to my trees.

For those who just can’t bear to discard all their hard work, maybe you would like to do what I did. Ten years ago I decided

Dad and his horse
Dad and his horse

that I needed to clean up the mess I had made in my trees. I spent countless hours deleting files, doing research and making corrections. Then, five years ago I decided to totally start over but I did not disregard all of my files. After deleting anything that was erroneous, I started with my parents and spent the time gathering everything I knew about them, all the documents, research, stories etc. Then I verified it all. After this I wrote the story of their lives. Using all the information I had gathered I was able to put together a very accurate and interesting story.

I then followed my Dad’s line back as far as I could, doing the exact same thing.  Some of the stories were sparse in information, but I feel confident that each Ancestor was well researched, and documented. I included copies of all the documents at the end of the story so others can see where my information came from. I am now working on my Mother’s side.

Doing it this way, one Ancestor at a time, I will be able to take all the stories I have written about both sides of my family and make a book about each to pass on to my Grandchildren.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

10 thoughts on “Putting It All Together

  1. This is a good idea. I have a little info on each of mine and didn’t know where to begin. It all sounded so difficult. If I narrow it down to doing one at a time I think I might be able to do it. Thanks.

  2. This is exactly what I have been doing since I began to blog last year in January. Working through one ancestor at a time. Cleaning up the files along the way. Adding source citations or cleaning them up. It makes writing the stories so much easier. There is no way I could to an all out Genealogy Do Over. But I am listening to what others are doing. Never know what might be useful.

  3. I have heard about people who started over completely, but that didn’t make sense to me at all. I do what you do. I have gone over each person, starting with the recent, and written short biographies about each person using the records that are available and worked my way backwards. Now I know that the direct lines are accurate, and the proofs and estimates have been documented.

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