Researching your family history

My Research Process

Yesterday, I wrote about my genealogy do-over progress.  As a follow up, I have outlined my current process as part of my genealogy do-over.

Step 1 Go through my index of my old research, and add these documents to my database, and also add the sources to the relevant events in the Ancestry tree. 

I am up to Elsie Marr, my grandfather Wilfred Palmer Marr’s sister.  My index of my old documents only has one entry for her:

Excel index

I therefore opened this file, so that I could add the information to my database.  Although I have set up the database to be able to add more information, at this stage I am only adding the basic information.

Database entry

I have the death and burial events in her profile

Ancestry profile

The next thing to do is to add sources to these two events.  Since the death information came from a death notice, and the burial information from a funeral notice, although both notices were from the same newspaper, I have set up two separate sources.  This is the citation for the death notice.

death citation

Step 2 Have a look at the person’s profile, and see if I have any information that I don’t think I can find on Ancestry, and do the research in “other” sources.  I’ll then add these new sources to my database, and add them as sources to the events on Ancestry

The only other information I have in her profile is her birth year and place and marriage year. Since these indexes are available on Ancestry,  I won’t be doing any research in “other” sources at this stage.  I will go back after my Ancestry subscription expires, and find additional records for her.

Step 3 Research the person in Ancestry, and download the records to my computer as well as attaching them to my Ancestry public Member tree, and add the records to my database.

You might be asking, why do I enter the records into my database, rather than my family tree.  I use the database for two main reasons:

1) I can keep track of which documents I already have for the person.

For example, I haven’t worked on Elsie and Wilfred’s brother George yet, but he appears on the same page on two of the electoral rolls for Wilfred.

George Marr documents

By using my database, I know which documents I have already downloaded, so that when I start working on that person, I don’t have to download the document again, I can just attach it to their profile in the Ancestry tree.

2) I can decide which documents I want to add to the database.

I have information, particularly for living individuals, that I don’t want to include in my tree. Rather than trying to keep track of what I do and don’t want to share in my Legacy Family Tree, I can enter everything into the database, and then only add the information I am willing to share to the Legacy tree.  Also, since electoral rolls and directories are available for virtually every year, I prefer to enter one event for each address, covering the years a person lived at that address, rather than having separate events for each year.

Another reason why I’m not adding the information to my Legacy Family Tree is that it is quicker to just use the database for now. I have a lot of double ups of master sources in my current Legacy tree, and I think it would be easier to start a new tree, rather than trying to fix my current source citations. I am therefore thinking the easiest thing to do would be to create a gedcom of my Ancestry public member tree, and import this into a new Legacy tree, and then it would be simply a case of going through and converting the Ancestry sources to proper source citations, using Legacy’s source writer.

With my current process, I am only extracting the main details from the documents. After my Ancestry subscription expires, I will also start transcribing the documents, so that I can start adding the additional information to my family tree.


3 thoughts on “My Research Process

  1. Great to see a more detailed breakdown of your do-over, Lois. Out of interest, is there any particular order in your review of each person in the database? Are you working backwards and then forwards for a particular ancestor, or just going from top to bottom in the list?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have set up my preliminary index of my old research in Excel to show the Ancestor group – 1 for my ex-husband and I, 2 for my parents, 3 for his parents, 4 for my grandparents etc, back to 55, which covers our 3x great grandparents, and then Generation – A for Ancestor, AS for other spouses of an ancestor, C for children, CS for the spouses of children, and D for their descendants. I then sorted the index by the Generation column and then by Ancestor group, so I started with me and my husband, then our parents, grandparents, great grandparents, 2x great grandparents, and the 3x great grandparents. Then I did the other spouses of my ancestors, and now I am doing the same for the children/siblings. When I get to the descendants, it gets too complicated to keep track of which person to work on next, so I will then work down from an ancestor.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I found an Ahnentafel index a great help to focus my research too. I like your numbering system for people off to the side but still core to your tree. I must confess to not being so organised in my approach as I get distracted by tangents and so many interesting people.


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