Saturday, January 9, 2016

My family history 2015 achievements my 2016 to-do plans

As Jill Ball noted in her recent blogpost, GAGs - GeniAus' Gems - 8 January 2016, I've been catching up on my blogging over the holidays or to use Jill's words, "blogging up a storm". So, in this blogpost, I've made a bit of a summary of what I have been able to achieve during these holidays and what jobs I still have to finish up (there will always be those unfinished jobs), now that the end of the holiday period for me is just a few days away.


These are the things that are have been done ...


Catching up with some of my favourite podcasts

  
Over the last year, my day job has taken over my life a bit. As a result, I've missed a lot of episodes of my favourite genealogy and history podcasts. So, during these holidays, I caught up on a few of my favourites, including:


Because I realised I'd missed out on so many podcast episodes myself over the last few months, I thought that some Genies Down Under listeners may also benefit from a blogpost that summarises last six months of my own Genies Down Under podcast episodes from July (Episode 45) to December 2015 (Episode 50):
Quick catch-up with the last 6 months of the Genies Down Under podcast


Lists in TROVE

Of course, there is a huge load of treasures to be found online at TROVE newspapers but to organise my finds and to reduce my time wasted on re-finds, I've started using lists in TROVE. Thanks to Barbara Kerson for reminding me about this very useful function in TROVE through her free E book - Getting the most out of Trove.




Facebook groups

Over the last few weeks, I've had some time to check in more regularly on the family-history groups I am part of. This not only reminds me that I'm part of a number of super-active genealogy groups, but it also reminds me of what's happening in genealogy and getting help when I get stuck. Some of the groups I belong to are:
  • Australian Local & Family History Bloggers
  • Lost Central West Towns-NSW
  • County Clare Ireland Genealogy
  • Australian Family History and Genealogy
  • Aussie Help For All Genealogy
  • Genealogy My Ancestors Came to Australia
  • Intro to Family History/Writing


Story books

I have loads of half-written genealogical stories that I'd like to finish and publish in Lulu.com format, so I have now organised the half-written files in one place. This way, they are easier to get my hands on to continue working on them. Here is the list of ancestors I am currently writing about:
  • My great grandparents, John Joseph WALTERS from Dublin, Ireland and Margaret FLEMING from County Kilkenny, Ireland
  • My great grandmother, Margaret BUTLER from County Clare, Ireland
  • The Northcotes of Western NSW, stories about my great uncles in the town of Dubbo, Orange, Kelso, Orange, Bourke
  • My great grandmother, Margaret Ann RILEY, daughter of a convict
  • The KINGSBURYs of County Dorset, England
  • My greatgrandfather, William Walter NORTHCOTE and his mysterious life


Choice of filename conventions

This is another job I've been meaning to do for years. After listening to loads of great advice from various podcasts and websites, I decided on a file naming convention for my own files. I had already decided on storing my files into two different broad sets of folders: 1) Graphics; and 2) General files. Within these, I store the files in folders by surnames and then by individual people with those surname folders. So, I'm happy with my folder naming conventions but have always been dissatisfied with my file naming methods. In short, they were messy and inconsistent, and didn't help me find files when I was looking for them.

So, I decided on this file naming format:
SURNAME first name year object location
For example:
WALTERS Thomas 1909 birth cert Chippendale.pdf
NORTHCOTE Margaret 1930 electoral roll Drummoyne.jpg 

Already, this method is making life easier and is especially helping me work out what documents and photos I already have and which ones I still need to purchase, find, look for etc.


Over the last month or so, I've made a start on changing my old, messy file names to my new "you-beaut" filenames. It will take a while, I expect.

Updated my genealogy bookmarks

Using my favourite browser, Chrome, I finally updated and reorganised my genealogy and blogging bookmarks.

Genealogy software

For quite a few years now, I haven't used any genealogical software except for my online trees at Ancestry and Findmypast. I tend to keep records about ancestors in Word documents and Excel files However, with all the talk of Family Tree software no longer being supported by Ancestry, I started thinking about using a genealogical software program again. In the distant past, I had used Family Tree Maker and still have some of these data files somewhere deep in my computer. So, I decided to do a bit of research to find out which genealogical software to use next. I listened to podcasts, downloaded a few trial versions, read websites and blogs, and spoke to my local family history group at Lake Macquarie (Lake Macquarie Family History Society) and ended up choosing Legacy Family Tree software. I'm happy with my choice and am making a huge effort with using this software to only include facts that I have proven. It's kind of fun to start using this software from scratch - learning something new while knowing that I'm only including family tree information that I know is evidence-based.


County Clare baptism records

I used the Catholic Parish Registers in Ireland, and information from my lost lost cousins in Sydney and Canada, to finally analyse and confirm the date of baptism (and to estimate the year of birth) of my great grandmother, Margaret BUTLER (1853-1946), and her siblings. I wrote a blogpost about the process: Success after a 20+ year search for a great-grandmother's baptism records.




The never ending to-do lists

Over these holidays, I have consolidated my many, many genealogy to-do lists into one to-do list for my own family history research and one to-do list for my Genies Down Under podcast work. While each of these lists are quite long, I've made them easier to navigate by categorising the to do jobs, adding hyperlinks for easy internal navigation, a lot of colour coding and appendices for detailed information.




Done a bit of blogging

After long spells of nothingness in my two family history blogs, here are some of the blogposts I've published recently at my Wishful Linking Family History blog and my Genies Down Under podcast blog:

 






And, these are the jobs that have not (yet) been done ...


Evernote software

I'd like to get to know how to use Evernote in more detail. I've listened to a few people talk about this software in glowing terms and I like the sound of it. It's installed on my computer and I've done some experimenting with it but I would like to get to know this software a little more in 2016 for family history research purposes.



Continue renaming my files

Using my newly developed file naming convention, I am currently working my way through renaming all of my graphic and other types of files.

Continue to populate Legacy with my ancestors' details

I'm really enjoying using this software, especially adding all of my sources and graphics.



Story writing

I'm continuing to finish my half-written stories and turn them into some shareable and possibly publishable formats.





Continue creating lists in Trove

Using lists in TROVE is a great way to organise searches and finds, and helps me not to redo positive and negative searches in the future.



Blogging ... always with the blogging

Now that I've jump-started blogging habits, I'm keen to continue my regular blogging habits at my Wishful Linking Family History blog and my Genies Down Under podcast blog. I'm aiming to blog once per month on each of these blogs in 2016.

 




What were your 2015 achievements and what are your 2016 "to-do" plans?




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