My "Golden Rules of Genealogy"

In January 2015, I decided to participate in the Genealogy Do-Over sponsored by Thomas MacEntee. (Info on the 2017 version here.)

One of the first assignments was to create our own “Golden Rules of Genealogy.” Here’s my list:

* PICKHOLTZ’ RULES: …to prevent jumping to conclusions, when you don’t have full documentation….
even when you are sure you know, don’t record it until you have one more piece of evidence.” – Israel Pickholtz 
It’s been almost 3 years since I created this list, the purpose of which is to help me establish and maintain good practices. I’ve stuck to most of my “Golden Rules” pretty well. Here’s where I’m still struggling:
#1:  I haven’t really scheduled specific times to work. That’s tricky to do when I pretty much am always working on my projects!
#2: Um- I forgot what I meant by this one!! Maybe I meant to choose one way of naming files and stick with it? Let’s go with that – because I am doing it!

#3: Because I try to follow #8, I often revisit documents for verification purposes. After I get clarification on the information, I put the document back where it came from. (most of the time!)

#4: I was so good about this at the beginning! Then it seemed cumbersome. Now I’m suffering for my laziness because I have information scattered about and I have to check and recheck to be sure I have included all my findings in my current project.

#5: I’m doing it. It’s annoying. But crucial.

#6: I have only thing on my To-Do list right now: finish the final draft of my current project!!!

#7: Almost blew this one last week. I have been so focused on the details of the story I am writing, I overlooked a crucial piece of information. Only took me two years to realize it!!

#8: This could also be called ” How to Paralyze a Genealogist.” I haven’t been able to find birth and marriage records for the main subject of my current project.  I don’t want to present inaccurate information. As a result, I allowed myself to stall the project. Luckily, I got great advice from Lisa Alzo during the Genealogy Writing Intensive I enrolled in. She helped me realize that, while having all the information is, of course, ideal, I might never find the vital records and in that case, the story might never be told! So – I included an explanation of what was missing and resumed writing!!

#9: I don’t get tired. Only kidding – no more working into the early morning hours for me. My eyes wear out and my fingers start type things that are completely unintelligible.

#10: Um – that’s why I’m posting every day this month!! In the event someone actually asks for my help or for some information, I’m thrilled to share. (Ask my friends and family – it’s hard to stop me right,?)

#11: I have gotten soooo much better at this. While it is thrilling to discover the information on your own, sometimes it’s just faster (and cost-efficient) to ask for help. Perhaps that will be a future post – helpful resources.

Writing about my current status regarding my “Golden Rules” has re-energized me. I’ll do better now. Really.

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