Sourcing – Lessons Learned

When I first started tracing my family line, I didn’t concern myself with keeping track of where I got my information.  At that time, I was just interested in 4 generations on either side.  Most of my information I received was from my grandparents.  Once my grandparents passed away, I lost a lot of my sources all from interviews.

As time went on and my family line grew, I couldn’t remember where I got the information i.e. names, dates, etc.  I started receiving conflicting information.  I then attempted to do some minor sources to help me keep better track.

Once the website went up and I started becoming inundated with names, I started to take sourcing seriously.  Within the last 6 months, I purchased “Evidence Explained” by Elizabeth Shawn Mills so I could use the genealogical standard for sourcing genealogical information.

I’ve recently upgraded to the newest version of Legacy Family Tree (v7) mainly because of the new source-writer templates that utilized Elizabeth Mill’s system as described in her book mentioned above.  Unfortunately, it’s not a straightforward conversion.  I basically have to redo the whole source so it’s a slow time-consuming project as well as highly frustrating.  While the templates help, I’m amazing by how little I tracked where I got my information.

One example would be emails.  Within the last 2 years, my old laptop died taking all my email addresses and conversations with it.  Because I didn’t keep the address in Legacy, I lost valuable contacts.  The conversations were important because of the information contained in those emails.

Due to the above-mentioned problems, I’ve been printing out the important emails with genealogical information.  To handle the loss of email address, I’ve started including them within the Legacy database as well as my Address Book in a subgroup “Genealogy Contacts”.  I’ve also been considering using GMail exclusively for correspondence so if I ever do have a laptop problem, I won’t lose valuable information.

Lessons learned?  Plenty.
•    Keep track of emails through Legacy and Address Book
•    Print correspondence with important genealogical information
•    Source information correctly using the source-writer templates
•    Use Gmail for all website related issues such as correspondence, etc.
•    Use forums when possible to post genealogy information
•    Teach those interested in genealogy the importance of sources

Hopefully by doing the above, I’ll cure my “genealogy blues” and do the work right.  Lots of work has gone into this project and I don’t want it to be discounted because of my lack of foresight in not tracking sources properly.  If I haven’t cited your contribution, please let me know.

Thanks for your patience as DoddemaGen continues to grow into a truly worldwide entity.

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