The Genealogy Do Over

Thomas MacEntee  announced this week that he was going to do a genealogy Do Over.  Randy Seaver then responded with a Not Doing a Do Over post.  So the question becomes to do or not to do.

Here is my plan for what it is worth. I plan on following Thomas’ Do Over with great interest to see what I can learn from it.  I don’t think we can ever go wrong as genealogist by learning from others whether they are right or wrong. Doesn’t matter. Thomas will make mistakes this year, and I will learn from them. He will also make a lot of good choices his second time around and I will learn from those too.

But I also plan on doing exactly as Randy says. No do over for me. However, before I start to sound like a holier than thou genealogist, let me share why I am not participating in the Do Over.

I’ve already done it.

Yes, you see, I’ve already done what Thomas purposes to do and don’t feel a need to do it again. Twenty years ago this month in fact.  You see, Hubby and I had just sold our first house and moved our small family (a 3 year old and a four year old) into a rental house while we built the Dream House.  During that four months I had very little to do, beyond laundry, caring for two kids, shopping for lighting fixtures, keeping a builder on task… so I decided to take every document I had ever found and reenter the data one page at a time.  It took me five years.

So no Do Over for me.  But I do think it’s important from time to time for a genealogist to revisit the documents we have and see if they gleam new information that we didn’t see the first time around. 
One of the things I have done this week is decided to revamp my census source templates. I have been using three templates over the years. One for the census when viewed at the library, one for when viewed at Family Search and one for Ancestry, though I rarely use Ancestry.  But it’s hard to know what information I need for each year from those templates.  So I decided what if the template was created for the census year?  So this morning I took three minutes and created 4 new templates for Family Search.  One for 1790-1840, one for 1850-1870, one for 1880, one for 1900-1940.  These new templates will have just the source elements I need to cite those census years.  Only the source elements that apply to that specific year will show up on the screen. 
Sometimes we need a Do Over. Sometimes we just need a Tweaking.


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