Defining What I Want From Genealogy Research

A comment from Don Michel on this post about the rewarding, but frustrating, hobby of genealogy:

It sounds as though you have not defined what you want from genealogy, that is what is your real objective. Is it to gather lots of names and dates, or is it to know you ancestors as real people, how and where they lived, did they have unusual hobbies or personalities? Doing this will help you develop a reasearch plan and strategy and keep you from frenetic activity and then the periods of burnout that you seem to be experiencing.

I admit, he’s right. I don’t have a plan and even when I have an immediate goal I am far too easily distracted. I do, however, have an ultimate goal and it’s time I made a plan to accomplish it.

My ultimate goal is a book for my grandchildren. I envision it as a way for them to know their great-grandparents – only two are still living and some of my grandchildren haven’t even been born yet!

I also envision it as way for them (and me) to learn how their family before them fit into this nation and the world — I want them to know where they came from. I want them know the history that was the present when their gggg-grandmother was alive and how she might have spent her days.

What better way to illustrate the Civil War than with stories of their ancestors’ battles? In my family tree, there are Union and Confederate soldiers, as well as one poor man who fought for both sides, was imprisoned by both sides and died in Andersonville.

I want a history of the migrations. Maps. The groups of families that traveled together and intermarried. And photos.

I want it all, which is quite a lot. And if I’m going to accomplish it, I certainly do need a plan.

Thus I need HELP! Planning is not my forte. Or even my pianissimo.

But here’s what I’m thinking:

  1. Capture now what might disappear. We have recordings of my father, my mother, my grandmother, my aunt. There are three other aunts and a great-aunt I need to interview soon. You’d think I would have learned by now to not put this stuff off.
  2. (actually, no. 1, part a., but I’m not that good with html) Scan photos belonging to my aunts, cousins, etc. Decide on a way to label and organize them. Back them up in more than one place. UPDATE: Include old recordings, voice and movies in the preservation.
  3. Get documents for the generation before me. It did not occur to me until considering joining DAR that I needed documentation for people I knew. Like my mother. My grandmothers. I knew them, why would I need any documentation!

HELP! I am open to any… all suggestions.

6 thoughts on “Defining What I Want From Genealogy Research

  1. Shoot I am in the same boat as you… I want info and documentation but where do you start?

    Oh, do you mean 8mm tapes? If so we can put them on VHS for you via our camcorder and computer. They sell 8mm-vhs adapter thingies that looks just like a vhs tape too.

  2. The tapes I was talking about are micro-cassette tapes. They’ve all be transcribed, but I want to hear them again and my player’s kaput. I’m wondering about things they said that I didn’t transcribe.

    BUT… are you talking about 8mm tapes on reels that you use with a projector? We’ve got some of those too.

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