Sunday, January 09, 2011

In Decision

Now that the holiday season is past, there are those decisions -- which wrappings and boxes to save, recycle or discard. How many boxes does one need, anyway? If it contained an electronic item must it be kept in the unlikely event that the item must be returned for repair?  Have you ever known anyone who had to return a TV set, or a toaster, for that matter, in its original box?  I still have boxes in the garage for stuff I don’t even own anymore.
So everything boils down to Decisions.  Just like in genealogy.  
When I am trying to select a document for filing, it is really slow going because of all those decisions!  First I must decide if it is worth holding on to. Is it something I already have?  If so, do I keep the duplicate copy?  Is it something directly related to one of my persons of interest, mug-book puffery on a distant relative by marriage, or background/history on the area where they spent their lives?   Is it an abstract for which I have found a copy of the original document? Do I stop what I am doing and go try to follow up an obscure notation, now that so many more records are available online?
No wonder everything takes so much time! And then, after the evaluation and sorting, there is the actual filing.
When I had a PC, a lot of documents got filed by means of the very useful Clooz program. Basically, it guides you to categorize each item by major surname (I have four), and TYPE.  Numbered as they are acquired, they still can easily be found.  Need to review that BLM record for old Uncle Harry’s farm?  Look in the Clemson/Land file. Great grandfather Winters’ death certificate? -- Winters/Vital. (One of my lines is so spread out I subdivided by region and then type.)

The computer program allowed for printing out lists of, say, all the people linked to a particular document, or all the documents relating to a single person.  But I also chose to print a table of contents to place in each folder, and found I consulted that instead of the computer most of the time.

However,  I have a Mac now, with no available Clooz equivalent .  There is a fairly straightforward database program for the Mac, called Bento, but do I really want to spend the time developing a whole new database/file for all these mountains of documents?  Not really.
So I’ll just leave the already-filed items in place and continue in the same manner, making sure to keep my folders’ contents lists up to date, as that will be my main means of access. (Of course I also note the complete file “code” for each item in the related individual’s notes, in Reunion, my computer genealogy program.)
An earlier project, my family history narratives for the genealogically-challenged are pretty well finished.  I only went back four generations, and included, in addition to the text, abbreviated pedigree charts for my husband and myself, and descendant charts for his parents and mine.  That way future readers can see the aunts, uncles and cousins, as well as a few generations of direct ancestors.  It was quite enjoyable, looking up contemporary relatives and learning a bit more about their families.  I can only hope the results are interesting and make some sense.

1 comment:

Free Genealogy Guide said...

I think genealogy has frustration built into it. On the one hand, it is hard not to be grateful for every single document and piece of personal information any ancestor left for you to find, but the flipside is the horror of hoarding the unnecessary. Every item you save seems to require re-handling later as you try to keep your files in order.