Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind

2019 Research Project Progress Report


That certainly sounds impressive, doesn’t it? But the short answer is, there is no progress because I haven’t been working on it. At all.

My big plan for 2018, which I completed, was to produce a bound book of Ancestors of My Brother from my FamilyTreeMaker data and give it to him for Christmas. Done, in 6 copies – one for him one for each of his children, and one for me. It’s gorgeous.

The plan for 2019 was to make research binder pages with full-page images to be printed and added to binders by some undetermined division of surnames. Each person/section would be supplemented by original documents and photos in acid-free page protectors, all properly identified. Sounded good. Didn’t happen.

What I have is a FTM database of just under 2,000 names with data collected over almost 50 years of research, which was massively cleaned up last year in preparation for the 2018 project. Time well-spent. I also have acid-free boxes divided by great-grandparent surname with original documents or copies such as death certificates, cemetery deeds, wills, letters, and military records. And photos – tho the tiny photos are being handled in another way. Yeah, lots of options. There’s also lots of correspondence, some of it dating back to the early 1970’s, from long-deceased relatives with seeds of information, and from cemeteries and churches with information covering multiple family members.

Also in the boxes are lots of random things, mostly outdated or replaced in digital form such as handwritten transcriptions of census records or abstracted land-deeds, and ancient family group sheets full of mis- or incomplete information. Some serious weeding of all of this was needed.

This week I started going through some of those boxes, weeding and sorting as I went, putting things in lovely clear acid-free sheet protectors and then putting THEM in a binder. I got through material for the Heginbothams, McCormicks, Cookes, Morrisons, and Flanders, which are all maternal lines. Next up are the boxes for my paternal lines, which have way more stuff to look at. But this is important.

What’s also important is coming to the realization that I do NOT want to make research binders with text, group sheets, original documents, etc. It’s a lot of work and I just don’t want to do it. What I want to do instead is make more printed & bound books with full-size photos and documents now in FamilyTreeMaker (which includes census, vital records, newspaper articles, city directory images, etc.). I’m thinking one book of ancestors for each of my grandparents, and one book of descendants for each set of grandparents.

All of these original documents that I’m carefully putting in acid-free storage can still go into binders by surname. I might organize them differently – not by individual person but by category of document, since several people in the same family appear on one page. Everything must be labeled, identified, and dated – because I’m the only one right now who knows what all that stuff is.

The goal is to make sure that all of the research I’ve done and all the material I’ve collected gets organized in a format that will be useful to me and to other family members who might refer to it when I’m not around to explain it.

So that’s the plan.

3 thoughts on “2019 Research Project Progress Report

  1. My mother and I are the last two that KNOW. And we have been doing some serious organizing too.

    I have ended up with archival safe photo album pages, to hold many different size items, in binders.

    There are about 20 binders. Each has tabs with names. And we are simply sticking the stuff for each person, or sometimes couple, in their section. Documents, pictures, whatever.

    My mother is labeling pictures as we go, because no one can read my handwriting. And my daughter has done the labels and tabs for all the binders.

    So, I totally get having to get it organized when you are the last one who remembers. And I applaud you for doing this very valuable work. It is a lot.

    • I think the books are lovely. If they had been around when I first got married, I would have done bound books instead of photo albums.

      And I think it is wonderful that you are telling the connections/story part with pictures in that format.

      I can see that being very fun. And you are exactly right, can make them for one person and then make copies for other people.

      I attended a lecture this winter and the woman does a genealogy book for her daughters every year for their birthday. They get them at certain ages. So the oldest got her first book at age 2 and then the younger sister got her version of the same book when she turned two a few years later. She has done some very fun things with them. And once she started, it was a self imposed deadline.

  2. I applaud and encourage you in all your efforts. I know well the monumental task we face as family historians. Best wishes on completing your goals.

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