Every genealogist started out as someone who knew very little about genealogy. It takes time to learn the skills that are required in order to do good research and to document things appropriately. Years later, after you have become an expert genealogist, you may find yourself discovering mistakes your past self made. When this happens, you might need a genealogy do-over!
Jenny Lanctot is a genealogist who has a blog with a clever title: Are My Roots Showing? She has been working her way through a genealogy do-over. Check out her blog for more details about how her genealogy do-over is going and for further information about what a genealogy do-over consists of.
The original genealogy do-over was announced by Thomas MacEntee on the GeneaBloggers website. He was inspired to start over from scratch because his past genealogy research frustrated him. So, he decided to set all that research aside and start all over again from the beginning.
That may sound extreme, but don’t worry! You are not required to throw away or delete all the genealogy research you spent years working on in order to embark on a genealogy do-over. Just set it aside for a while. Put it somewhere out of reach so you won’t be tempted to rely on it during the do-over.
The main purpose of the genealogy do-over is to correct the mistakes that you made when you were a beginning genealogist. The concept is similar to when writers look over work they wrote years ago and wince over spelling mistakes, cringe over incorrectly cited sources, and lament how often they used the word “very”.
The more you work on a subject, be it writing or genealogy, the better you become. It is natural to make some “rookie mistakes” when you first start out. The genealogy do-over gives you the opportunity to fix those mistakes without having to painfully pour over all of your old notes and research. It is your chance to start fresh and do better, more accurate, research.
The best way to start is with a plan. If you like, you can imitate the plan that another genealogist made for his or her genealogy do-over. Things may go better, though, if you create a plan of your own. What about your old genealogy research frustrates you the most? Is there something you wish you had done differently, had documented better, or had finished working on?
Those are all good places to start. Put together a plan that specifies exactly what you want to work on. For extra motivation, give yourself a deadline to complete each goal. You will end up with cleaner, more accurate, better genealogy research when your genealogy do-over is complete.
Image by Rennett Stowe on Flickr.
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