Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 will not go away before I write another entry to this blog! I don't need to ask what happened to the year - genealogy, family, painting, quilting, travel, grooming and exercising the newest member of our family - Jolie, Face Book and lest we forget: AGING, all of those things have contributed to a very full year.

2015 portends to be exciting in a different way. Genealogy has moved to the forefront and I am committed to using this year to prepare for applying to become a Certified Genealogist. My friend Jaime suggested I blog the process. We'll see if blogging goes better than before.

The first thing on my "To Do List" is to conquer source citation - the thing without which genealogical research has no value. Jaime came today to help me work through some issues with source citation in "Roots Magic". It is an application specific to genealogy (there are many!) that is useful in not only organizing and storing information, it appears to be versatile in creating output such as charts, reports, etc.

In researching learning aids for genealogy certification, I found a report created in this application by a renowned genealogist, Elizabeth Shown Mills. Prior to this, I was told that Word was the application of choice for recording your research notes. That is, as you locate each piece of evidence in your research, you transcribe its pertinent information into a Word document and analyze it, all the while making sure you have every bit of information to cite its source. In a science where there is a world of information to read, transcribe and analyze, it seems redundant to have to re-create the information in more than one place. The logic of being able to record evidence, source, citation and analysis in one place and produce a report from that same place is not only logical it is VERY appealing.

So my friend came today to help me wend my way through "Roots Magic" and try to figure out how this might work. After establishing how to add Source, Citation and Repository, and after several attempts to modify the existing output choices, he suggested I query google for how this report might have been created. Surprised at myself for not having done so already, I searched right after he left. The information is all there in another blogger's blog: http://www.geneamusings.com/. I know what I'll be doing tomorrow!

I think genealogists are puzzlers at heart, and I love puzzles. The thing is, you can't just find a puzzle piece (evidence) and put it into place. You have to transcribe and record the evidence, record where and when you got it, store it someplace for easy retrieval and then analyze it for relevance to the overall puzzle. Next, you will put it in context to the puzzle and compile your cited and analyzed findings in some kind of output, be it a book, a family tree, a chart or even a letter to your kin folk. I figure I can puzzle with genealogy until I am at least 100, and maybe beyond. Being successful will require more than citing sources, but making source citation second nature is a great place to start.