5th Blogiversary: Reflections and Goals


fifth birthday candlesIt’s hard to believe, but today is this blog’s 5th anniversary.  Perhaps it’s why I’ve been feeling something of a five-year itch with it.  Over recent months, in a scattered way, I’ve been reflecting on where I’m at with both my research and blogging. My prevailing sense has been that my blogs, and my research, have got away from me – another way to say I think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, despite chewing furiously.

tiger's tailWhen I bought a large mobile whiteboard about a year ago, I wrote at the top “Beware of the tiger’s tail”. What I meant by that, was to be strategic in my blogging rather than catching hold of the tiger’s tail and having it drag me along willy-nilly. Sure, I’ve written lots of stories relevant to my research but I’m equally sure I’ve not been strategic in my approach. I’ve been tempted to take myself off to Kakadu for a couple of days sans technology and take the chance to step back and decide what’s important to my family history research, my blog and what I want to achieve in the future.

So where do I go from here…other than Kakadu?

STRATEGY 1

In the past my practice has been to write up my family history in narrative form – partly because I started in the pre-computer age, and partly because it suited my style, following an example demonstrated by two academic researchers I met.

Genealogy programs tend to make me feel claustrophobic and for a long time I felt that the Australian program, Relatively Yours, solved my needs best. However the time has come to jump ship and make the move to another program, probably Family Historian. I definitely want one that permits more than a restrictive view of what constitutes “family”. After all I’m interested in my ancestors’ broad life experiences, not just the hatches, matches and despatches. I want to know the nuances of their lives, the place, siblings, neighbours and former neighbours etc as they so often break down brick walls.Revisit record revise

I have published my Kunkel family history but with so much coming online, especially via Trove, there are always new additions. Similarly I have unpublished narratives for several of my other lines: McCorkindale, Melvin, Gavin.

Project: Transfer my RY data to Family Historian. Because of the particular aspect of Relatively Yours I don’t find the gedcom works as well as it might.

Project: Prepare a spreadsheet which lets me check which certificates and records I’ve explored, hold or am still missing. Work on timelines for my tricky ancestors.

STRATEGY 2

A couple of months ago I wrote a post for the Worldwide Genealogy blog called My Three Rs of Genealogy Research: Review, Record, Revise. It certainly seems pertinent within this context.

family-history-back-to-basicsOverall I feel my genealogy (the structure of who’s who) is accurate: I’m a Doubting Thomas and will worry at something like a bone until I find the answer. If it’s not certain, then I will only add it as an hypothesis in my narrative, clearly stated as such…another advantage of the narrative model.

A month or so ago I added this note to my whiteboard as I wrestled with the “where to from here” question: Back to Basics.

Project: Review my many notes in over 50 notebooks from archive and library visits, LDS microfilms etc (and continue to digitise them). Incorporate the information into my narratives and genealogy program. I will also focus on whether my assumptions have been correct or whether I need more data.

STRATEGY 3

red-do-over-button - smallThomas MacEntee’s new Genealogy Do-Over Program is opportunely timed for me, as I think it will be complementary to what I’m trying to do here. However, I won’t be packing away my 28 years of research as I don’t think I need to…after all my data doesn’t come from online trees or other’s research. In (almost?) every case I’ve started with the basics and gone from there.

However, I will be going back to revisit my basics as mentioned above, and putting the research microscope over the conclusions I’ve reached, the gaps in my research, and where I can pursue further information. In short, be more strategic. I’m confident there’ll be lots of tips in the Genealogy Do-Over Program that will help me with what I want to achieve.

Project: Follow along with the Geneabloggers’ Genealogy Do-Over Program and implement strategies as appropriate.

SUMMARY

I’m expecting 2015 to be a big year for the Cassmob clan as a lot is planned. Hopefully I’ll be able to tackle these tasks along with the family goals.

BAck to Basics flow diagramMy over-arching goals:

Be Strategic 

Back to Basics

Reflect, Review, Revise and Record.

There are also other decisions to be made about my Dorfprozelten blog, which has been languishing unattended, and my East Clare Emigrants blog.

THANKS

starsAs this fifth year draws to a close I’d like to thank you all for reading. Blogging may have sometimes taken me off-track research but it’s given me a wonderful world-wide community of friends, some I’ve already met, and some I hope to meet at Roots Tech and the FGS Conference in February.

Thanks so much for reading my blog posts, commenting and being supportive!! You’re all stars!

29 thoughts on “5th Blogiversary: Reflections and Goals

  1. Congratulations, Pauleen, on your anniversary. I started to read your post with dread as I thought you might be cutting back on your genealogy activities but, as I read on, I was pleased to see that you have assessed your activities and are planning some huge bites in 2015.

    I will be excited if you decide to go with Family Historian, the new version 6 has some beaut features while it takes a while to get one’s head around after using another program it is well worth the effort.

    I look forwqard to following your continuing journey..

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    • Thanks Jill…you picked up on my thought processes. I can’t imagine giving up my research but I did start to wonder if I needed to cut back on blogging and if it was working against me in terms of research. When I start in with Family Historian you know I’ll be humbugging you 😉 Thanks for your support.

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  2. Thanks Pauleen for the strategic directions – with the New Year coming up I have also been pondering my recent attempts to convert all my decades of research into more accessible media and where to in 2015. I love reading your posts and the advice suggested throughout. Looking forward to your future posts.

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    • Shauna, we probably have similar dilemmas. Starting way-back-when, one gets in a different mode. I have so much info that I need to ensure I’ve captured, other than in my notebooks. Thanks also for your kind words 🙂

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  3. Congratulations on your 5th Blogiversary… it was because of your blog that we met, so I’m very happy that Angela suggested I might like it… she was right.:-) You certainly will have a busy year ahead, but whatever you decide, I’m sure you will manage it all beautifully. You are an inspiration to those of us who are comparative newcomers, and a great mentor, while the more experienced will still find plenty to learn… Thank you.

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    • Thank you Chris (and Angela)…I’m pleased we met virtually and in real life as well 🙂 It will be a busy year and hopefully it will all come together. I do hope you’re not including yourself in the newcomer category cos that would be a fib.

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  4. Congratulations on your 5th Blogiversary… you are an inspiration to so many and I’m so glad that we ‘met’ initially on line, and then in person. Can’t wait to see what you do next in this very exciting year to come.

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  5. Congratulations, Pauleen, on your 5th anniversary.Well done!!! Oh so much work has gone into those years..& your New Year resolutions sound daunting to me… But when you are doing something you love it is so rewarding..enjoy 2015!

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  6. Pingback: Back to Basics 1: First Quarter 2015 | Family history across the seas

  7. Pingback: Accentuate the Positive 2014 | Family history across the seas

  8. Congratulations on five years of blogging, and for posting another thought- provoking, clear-headed article. Your earlier post “Review, Record, Revise” has rightly struck a chord with many bloggers and I think should be my motto for 2015. I look forward to reading the results of your new strategy..

    Liked by 1 person

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