Wednesday, October 12, 2011

US-Records Study Group: Assignment 2

First, I'd like to update on my progress on my first assignment. I'm proud to say that other than one day, I have consistently used my research log whenever I researched in the last month. I'm still working on getting in the habit of writing a report at the end of each research period. The weekly research reports on an ancestor is also something I'm trying to get in the habit of, although I did write two in the last month.
While it wasn't one of my goals, the assignment and group discussion led to me revamping my organization system. Since starting with my research, I've tried a variety of systems to stay organized, but so far, I think my current system is my favorite. My advice to other genealogists and family historians would be if you can't find a system that works for you, take the pieces of other systems that do work, drop the ones that don't, and put it all together in a system that is personalized to what works for you.

On to this month's assignments. This month actually has a three part assignment so I'll do a post on each of them. The first part is measuring your genealogical maturity. The evaluation consists of five sections: sources, citations, information, evidence and conclusions.


With sources, I am guilty of mainly using what I can find from the comfort of my home. One my goals this year was to work with a wider range of sources, which I have started doing, but I do need to get out of the house for more on-site research. As the end of the year approaches, I have started thinking on my genealogy goals for coming year and a visit to the Georgia and/or South Carolina Archives is going to be one of the goals.


While I am now consistent about citing my sources, I still struggle with their construction and including all pertinent data within them. I need to focus on a standard format (even if it's not the standard format others use) and including more necessary data (condition, etc).


I need to get better about analyzing my information: what it says, what can be inferred, what factors affect what the source says, historical background etc. When looking back over sources I have found previously, it's not uncommon for me to find a detail I missed.


This was originally a problem area for me, but since I started rebuilding my tree from scratch, I've got better. As I begin to explore more record types, I will probably find more supporting and conflicting evidence to analyze.


This is a weak area for me. While I am okay at sorting out my conclusions based on the evidence at hand, I'm not good about writing it out so someone else can see my thought process. This is something I really need to work on.

Goals for Improvement:
  • Pick a format for citations and use it consistently. Make sure the chosen format includes a section for condition and provenance of source, as well as a space for notes.
  • Spend more time examining sources that I find to make sure I'm getting every bit of information available from the record.
  • Start writing research reports (goal from assignment 1) to force myself to spell out my conclusions.

No comments:

Post a Comment