I am following the Modified Participant Options for the Genealogy Do-Over journey. I will be doing over my research for my 3rd great-grandfather, Peter Strausser, and his family in the hopes of knocking down a couple of brick walls.
My research goals are: firm up my documentation to form a sound proof argument that Mary Catherine Strausser is the daughter of Peter Strausser and Sarah (Mumma) Strausser; trace Peter Strausser and his known descendants in the hopes of finding some living descendants who may be able to provide me with some knowledge of this family; and determine the parents of Peter Strausser.
Our topics for Week 9 of the Genealogy Do-Over
Conducting Cluster Research
Modified Participant Options: It is very likely that you have some dead ends, road blocks or whatever you want to call them in your past research. Try taking one person for whom you can find no real information, and iterate out their F.A.N. club connections. Use clues from records such as census sheets to find their occupation, their native country, their native language etc. Start slow and small and progress from there.
Thomas MacEntee recommended the following steps for thorough cluster research:
- Always use a research log
- Formulate your theories and write them down
- Employ spelling variations when conducting each search
- Stop relying only on records that are indexed
- Try swapping given and middle names
- Search by address
- Dedicate yourself to performing a reasonably exhaustive search
- Search boundary townships, counties and states
My approach this time will be to follow these recommendations to thoroughly perform cluster research, when I complete researching collateral lines, which will take me a while. Many of our software programs lack the ability to enter non-related individuals that can then be tied to a specific relative. I guess what I am wishing for is the ability to add the non-relative to my database and research just like any other family member (add events, images, citations, etc.) and then connect them to a family member without them becoming related or showing up in family/ancestor type reports. I would be very interested in knowing about any genealogy software that can do this.
Organizing Research Materials – Documents and Photos
“All-In” Participant Options: Think of getting organized as an investment: why would you spend years doing research if at some point you couldn’t locate what you’ve discovered? Set aside those crucial one to two hours a month and commit to a plan to get organized.
For this task, I’ve decided to follow the “All-In” Participant Options. I have been relatively successful in organizing and maintaining my file folders and files. I am with Thomas in that I lean heavily toward digital versions of documents and images.
I originally tried the binder method but quickly came to two conclusions: 1) I did not have sufficient space to house the collection as it grew; and 2) it did not really support my organizational style. I am very file folder oriented. I invested in a legal size filing cabinet and legal size hanging folders. Within each hanging folder I can store either legal or letter size manila file folders. What I store in these folders are the documents I obtain from brick and mortar repositories, even though I scan them to create digital copies.
As I discussed in an earlier Do-Over post, I keep the folder naming consist between paper and digital so I only have to remember on system. Oversize documents, such as copies of newspapers, etc., are placed into large flat archival boxes with the contents listed on the covers.
With my review of my system, I realize that it has been working well for me and I do know how to find everything. What I do need to do is to comb through my digital and paper folders and create new folders for any couple that does not have one. I confess to lazy days where I just put the document into the parents’ folder rather than make new ones.
The other area I will address will be my document and image file naming conventions. I seem to have tried out several different systems at various times and have never really followed through and implemented one unified system. That task is now on my to-do list for this Do-Over. Looking forward to next week…
The Genealogy Do-Over journey is a 13 week challenge from Thomas MacEntee, of GeneaBloggers. Week 9 (27 February – 5 March 2015) #WK9GenealogyDoOver
© Copyright 2015 Old Bones Genealogy, LLC