I’m way late to the party with the 15th week of Tonia’s 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog series but it’s such a good topic I couldn’t pass on it. The task at hand is to write a post which solves a problem that your readers (or potential readers) have. Tonia discusses six ways to identify such a problem:
- Solve your own problems
- Look for questions in search referrals
- Analyze internal searches
- Ask readers for questions
- Look for problems on other sites
- Get ideas from friends and family
I didn’t even have to look past #1 to find something to blog about today
My main genealogical problem these days is finding time to solve my own problems, at least ancestrally speaking! I’ve got no end of excuses. Lately, aside from the general joys, trials, and tribulations of every-day life, my time has been spent on:
- ProGen13 – I LOVE it! this month’s topics are the Essential Genealogy Library and Copyright & Fair Use.
- The National Institute of Genealogical Studies – wrapping up US: Religious Records – Part 1 now, and tomorrow I begin classes on Electronic Research: Using the Internet and Research from Family History Centers to New FamilySearch.
- Volunteer research at the Erie County Historical Society Library & Archives (Tuesdays and Thursdays)
- Client work – Woohoo!!!!!!!
The thing about fitting in my own personal research is that it isn’t going anywhere. My ancestors are most certainly going to stay dead…pretty much just waiting around idly for me to locate their records. And while any genealogical discovery is fulfilling on some level, I do miss the rush of uncovering something in one of the branches of my own tree. I think the secret to keeping a hand in my own gene pool is to make a plan. So here’s mine.
Pick a problem
Since I know some of my readers are the dear folks across the pond at the Rootschat forum, at least those who share my perpetual consternation with the pesky Buckinghamshire Denchfields, I plan to focus on one of “those” problems.
Schedule time to work on the problem
Every Sunday, I’m going to write a Problem Post. In it, I will recap last week’s problem and list any progress made on it. I’ll then refine the problem, or describe a new one, and list my research plan for the week. To be realistic, and maintain my sanity, I’m going to budget only eight hours of research/analysis each week. And because I’ve already got way too much on my plate this month, I’m going to put this process to the test next month. And (because I’m cool like that), I’m going to call it Denchfield December. Kinda catchy
Review and revise the problem – stay focused!
When it comes to the Denchfield family, solving one problem tends to lead to three more – the tip of the genealogical iceberg syndrome. It can get overwhelming. As I learned in the BU program, keep the problem simple, and singular – one step at a time.
Celebrate small successes
The murkier the mystery, the easier it can be to lose sight of the fact that genealogy research is a process. Nothing is absolute; some problems make never be completely resolved, but every step we take toward untangling the past is an accomplishment in and of itself!