Tag Archives: Strategy

Pinball Genealogy

pinball machineWalking into a Video Arcade you come across an old pinball machine. You decide to take a closer look so you move in and to your surprise the machine is a Genealogy Pinball Machine! On the backglass you can see what appears to be a Family Tree with a list of unlit research documents on it. You get a little closer and look down at the playfield and you see the names of various documents and lots of blinking lights. This is going to be fun! You insert a couple of quarters and the balls roll out into the plunger. The first ball goes flying onto the playfield. Rolling down towards the bottom you hit the flippers and it makes contact with the ball. It shoots back up the field and hits “Death Certificate”, lighting it up and scoring 100 points. It then bounces over to “Wills” also lighting it up and scoring 50 point. You continue playing until you run out of balls. When the game is finished you look at the backglass to see your score, an impressive 10,000 points. But wait, not all of the documents names have been lit up. You missed some during the game. Now what? You pop in more quarters and try again. The outcome is the same so you decide to give up.

This is how it can be in our own research time. You decide which Ancestor you want to work on and you begin your search.Hazel Clara Hughes Vickery DC You find a Death Certificate for Great-Grandma Iva. How exciting as you have searched several times before with no luck. So you continue to search and you find her Obituary. More excitement as the clipping includes her parents’ names and her childrens name. You immediately do a search for Great-Great Grandpa Chuck finding his Marriage Certificate to Mary. You discover that Mary has a very unusual last name so the hunt begins for any documents for her. Eureka! You found her in the 1840 Census along with her parents and siblings. The search continues looking for each new Ancestor that you stumble upon.

Elsie May Willard obitWhen you are finished you realize that the only documents you found for Great-Grandma Iva was her Death Certificate and Obituary. You got side tracked adding all the new information you found on the other Ancestors. It is like a pinball machine. You hit one target and it immediately bounces off, taking you in a totally different direction. You continue this way until the game is over and you find there are still a lot of missed documents and information. What can you do to avoid this pinball trap?

When you sit down to do research, do it with a purpose. Take the time to really look at what information you already have on the chosen Ancestor and make a list of what else you need to fill in the blanks. Stick to the list until you have run out of places to search. While you are examining the documents, if you find new information on another Ancestor, make a note of it so you can go back to it. They have Research Logs available for free at a lot of sites; you can use one of those or create your own. Each person does research in a different way so do what works for you.

Remember our main goal in creating our Family Tree is to make it as complete and accurate as possible. This is done with documents and other vital information. Keeping on track will help you fill in those blanks and make our trees bloom!

Click here to get various research log forms http://tinyurl.com/lyq4sbf

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, How-to

Genealogy Goals vs Strategies

A goal is defined as: “the result which an individual plans to accomplish something”

Genealogy goalsThe goal of every person doing Genealogy is to find and record as many family members, both current and Ancestral, as possible. We strive to find the documents that link these relatives to us and we pray that we can find a photo or two of those we have never seen before. Our goal is to organize all that we do find into some kind of order so that it can be easily understood. For most of us, the end goal is to have an accurate and complete Family Tree to pass on to the next generations.

When I first started working on my Family History I really didn’t give much thought to it. I would go to the Library or repository and find whatever documents I could. I would then write out a “Family Group” sheet on each person and connect the documents to that. When Genealogy sites were finally available on the internet I approached it the same way. I would “snatch and grab” whatever information I could find and add it to my trees. After a couple of years of doing this all I ended up with was a big mess.   I ended up having to start all over again. What I realized was, I needed to have a strategy to my Genealogy research.

However approaching Genealogy with a strategy sounds boring.  I mean aren’t we supposed to have fun doing research and finding all those hidden treasures?  Oh course we are, but sometimes…okay a lot of times, we get off track when we are researching and we waste hours hopping from one Ancestor to another or one document to another without really accomplishing anything and missing vital information. Most people have busy lives aside from Genealogy so the time spent in pursuit of Family History is a precious thing. So let’s look at what a “strategy” really is:

A strategy is defined as: “the method by which the goal is achieved.” While both are geared towards success, the 'Strategy' highlighted in greengoal serves as the specific aim which inspires individuals to work efficiently while the strategy serves as the pattern, system, or means by which the goal is reached or achieved.

So developing a strategy is basically following a pattern or system that will help you achieve the goal of finding and documenting your Ancestors. This “system” should not be so strict that it becomes a hindrance to your research. It should however include a guideline that you follow so that with each Ancestor you can do a complete search of all the information that may be out there before moving on to the next person. We get so excited over our finds that we just barrel ahead and skip some important information or documents. So by developing your own strategy for your research you can keep on track and accomplish your goals.

I would love to know what strategies you use.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, How-to