Thursday, January 1, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over, Week 1: It's Inventory Time!

Thanks to Geneabloggers' Thomas MacEntee for suggesting this year's Genealogy Do-Over.

The idea is to retrace family trees from scratch . . . using new research . . . fresh eyes . . . the latest techniques . . . and to collect supporting documents that will back up the names/dates and relationships. In other words, don't just do it over, do it right this time.

My first step (throughout January) is to take inventory of everything I've collected in nearly 20 years of family history research. That includes:
  • Original marriage licenses, birth certificates, death certificates, and other vital records.
  • Obituaries, diplomas, commencement booklets, wedding/engagement announcements, birth announcements, and other announcements or invitations.
  • Newspaper and newsletter articles about family members (birth, death, anniversary, business accomplishments, bankruptcies, etc.).
  • Ship manifests.
  • Digital documents.
  • Scraps of paper with phone numbers, addresses, notes about cousins knowing cousins, etc.
Photos are a rich source of genealogical detail, and I plan to inventory mine, family by family. They're already in special sleeves and stored in archival boxes (see above), separated by surname and individual. Now I need a master list of each person, each family, and each box so I can quickly put my hands on a photo of Dad that might be in Burk box #2 (of 3 or more), for example.

After I take inventory, I'll begin the indexing process. It's not enough to know what I have, I need to know who each item relates to. I'm an experienced indexer by this time, having indexed all the names in 500+ pages of Farkas Family Tree documents stretching back 30 years. I've also indexed the names in my late father-in-law's 25 years of diaries. So this is just more of the same, on a larger scale.

Oh, the places I'll go! The people I'll meet! Do-Over, Week 1, here I come.


  1. Marian, this sounds like a great idea. I had not heard about it. I'll have to investigate. Thanks!

    1. Best of luck, Colleen, and happy new year to you!