As a primary school teacher, I wonder how many times I have reminded my students that any piece of writing needs a beginning, a middle and an end.
I am very good at beginnings and fairly good at the middles but not so good at endings!
Last year I set out to write weekly for 52 Ancestors and I am pleased that I did as I wrote far more, and more often, than I would otherwise have done, but there are still more gaps than finished articles. The trouble is, I get bogged down in the research for the middle and disappear down various, I think very necessary, rabbit holes – my own school reports used to comment that I could be easily distracted (talked too much) so not much improvement there then.
I learned a lot along the way and become immersed in the person and their life, and incidentally can add detail to my tree, but as I am doing this, I know that much of it will not end up in any article. However, I am mainly doing this for myself, and whoever falls over it online, so it really matters not but it make sense to complete what I started.
So this year’s plan is to join in again and at least try to keep up!
Writing the articles generates another problem which I hope to begin to solve this year.
Like many other people I am not so good at keeping track of my research – the thrill of the chase meant I was sloppy about recording sources – I was generating piles of paper though at the beginning! I had copious scraps of paper and Post It notes none of which made sense when I came back to them. Over the years I have added the information to my choice of desktop software so that is not an issue, but I never really recorded what I had done, when and where so end up repeating things. I have various fancy note books around, none of which have been kept up to date and all suffer from the same randomness of notes which made sense when I wrote them …..
My main concern now is not so much recording sources or even knowing what I had but keeping a log and cross referencing it to everything else especially now I have added exploring DNA matches for 5 kits. This is a daily task done first thing in the morning and I often have little time to check thoroughly there and then, so last year I got hold of some A4 size indexed exercise books and when I come across a DNA match which needs further investigation I record them in there by surname and go back to them when I have the time.
This year I’ve got myself an A4 hard back page-a-day diary to go alongside this. My thinking is that that will be a quick record of what I did on any one day, with notes to tell me what will need recording where so for example, a note to say which DNA surname match appeared would go in there along with whatever follow up I managed to get done..
I will also briefly record any research for individuals or articles I make both online and from my growing library of books. It’s not going to be as grand as a research journal at least to start with, more like a to-do-list cum I-did-list in one place which I can go back to and check off when it’s done, but I’ll see how it goes.
I need to include email correspondence in this as well, as I am one of those dreadful miscreants who does not instantly reply to queries and spends time checking before replying and then yes, sometimes I forget to reply for ages.
Since I wrote this article, I have decided to revamp the layout of this site, so am keeping a record of this too.
This post could equally well have fitted the last prompt for 2020, Resolution, but in the spirit of new beginnings I shall post it for 2021!
One piece of paper which Granny had tucked away, which we came across after her death, was an empty black edged envelope. It had been in my grandmother’s writing case with other seemingly insignificant bits of paper, some of which had been her mother’s.
Eleven at night was the start of a baker’s day, when he made the dough. He was able to sleep on the job for a couple of hours while the bread rose, then had to do the rest of the physical tasks of preparing rolls and loaves.
For this year’s favourite photograph, I have chosen the one I used as the heading picture for the blog section last year, but made no comment on it at the time. It features the same families as I described last year.
I had never really worked out how common the names of my direct ancestors actually were, although I was vaguely aware that there were several called George as it is a name I always type incorrectly, as well as some Josephs, also a nightmare for me to type!