Monday, January 4, 2010

Year in Review: 2009

I've been interested in genealogy for some years now, but I only started to practise it seriously in mid-2009. The whole thing became almost overwhelming when in November my parents cleaned out their bedroom closet and I was suddenly in the possesion of three boxes of documents and a big (read: huge) box of photographs. Since then I've been going through it in small parts, but I realised I needed a plan and something to keep me on track. And so my blog was born on 20 November 2009.

What I noticed most about my research in the past year, in hindsight of course, is that it was all over the map. I didn't focus on certain people or lines and I was prone to following tangents that were only sideways connected to my family.

These things have led to my 2010 goals. One of my goals is dealing with the materials I got from my parents. The rest have to do with focussing on certain people and then go through all possible sources for those people systematically.

In Januari the focus will lay with going through all the documents and photographs in my possesion. This will also be the main bulk of the research for generation II, which are my parents. There will be things there about other generations, of course, but most of it is about my parents. The goal in Januari is to focus on generation II (and thus the documents and photographs in my possesion) for 5 hours a week. If I have more time, I can do some other things that are on my ever-growing to-do list, but the first 5 hours are reserved, so to speak.


  1. It is hard not to be 'all over the map' with research, I agree. Depending on your time allowances, just working on one surname at a time helps with focusing. Thank you so much for visiting my blog today and leaving a comment.

  2. I am also a tangent person. It always amazes me how I can start looking for a specific piece of information and end up on a completely other document type searching for a different ancestor. I'll be following your blog to see if you have tips on not being "all over the map." Thanks for visiting my blog. I am hopeful in my trip to Germany to make it to Delft Library in the Netherlands. Have you ever been?

  3. Wonderful the way you narrow your goals down to very specifics. I wish you the best of luck in accomplishing your goals. I know last year I actually categorized all my pictures; I am not trying to scan them for a digital back up. One thing at at time.
    Thank you for stopping by and commenting on my blog, I would never have found you other wise. : )

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  5. @ Amanda: no, I've never been. I was born in Delft, but my family moved back not even two years after to the area of Leiden, where most of my ancestors came from, The rest came from area's that are more to the middle and south of the country.

    @ the others: thanks for your comments

  6. J.M., thanks for stopping by Before My Time! I know how much fun it is to have boxes full of genealogy stuff, but I haven't managed to get a grip on it yet (22 years doing genealogy, and it just keeps getting less organized!). Have you found a good way to sort the papers as you're looking through them?

  7. @ T.K.: What I do with my papers when I sort them is immediately enter all the information in RootsMagic 4, that's the first step. Then I file it in the appropriate map, coded, and that code is also added to RootsMagic 4, so I can find the source again when I need to.

    The sources get sorted into maps according to last name, so if I have a record for Adolph Knura I put it in the Knura map. If there are more people mentioned on the document I file it with the most pertinent one, usually the male that's my direct ancestor. Because all sources are coded, I can still find it if I reference it with someone else. I have a map for all of my mine surnames, and one map for the rest in which the names are alphabetised.

    The code is the most important part of the archiving, as it allows me to find stuff again. The first part of the code is the first letter of the surname, then the number of the record and then the initials of the primary person named in the records. So if I have 15 records in my Knura map, and I now have a new one for Adolph Knura, the code would be K16A. Placing the initials in the code allows me to look up the primary records for one person. The letter and number allow me to quickly find one particular source, as referenced in RootsMagic 4.

    This is my way, which might or might now work for you. Hope it sparks some ideas on how to organize your own papers.

  8. J.M., thanks for sharing your method. I like the idea of coding each document so you can cross-reference it when it applies to several people.

    I'm afraid my own sorting hasn't gotten quite that organized yet! But I'm working on it. :-)