You may recall a year or so ago, I wrote a post about organizing the documents on my computer. This was a monumental effort. There were over 200 folders with multiple folders within. I have no clue how many documents there were. I think it would have scared me if I knew!
I started the project in 2011 with 150 folders. Then, half way through, I had to reorganize the folders because I was touching the same families twice in multiple places. This brought me back over 200 folders. In January 2013, I had 105 folders left to go through.
As of this week all my family folders are completed. I have finished my project! Yeah!!!!
How did things get so bad? I can pinpoint exactly when I became overwhelmed by my genealogy. It was 2006 and my dog had to have her leg amputated due to cancer. During this time, I researched but I didn’t do a whole lot of analyzing and digesting. I was very good at collecting data!
I wasn’t really able to get back to things until after my Dad died in 2010. Then, I realized I had a mess. I couldn’t find the information in my database, I couldn’t locate documents on my computer, I had multiple copies of the same thing because I forget I had already found this bit of information. I hated it.
Oh, sure, I could have stopped researching at this point, but that was never going to happen. I’ve waited a long time for the genealogy world to catch on the California, Hawaii, and Azorean genealogy. During this time, several databases became available that I had to research. I just had to! And, then France put all their records online…as an genealogy addict I can’t just cut off the supply like that 😉
The whole process has been frustrating, but that frustration demanded action. And, so I worked on it piece by piece. Sometimes doing only a couple documents a week. I was aided in September of this year when Windows decided to take over my computer for almost 3 weeks with a software update. My computer became very slow and I couldn’t do anything that involved the internet or extensive typing. But, RootsMagic worked great. When my computer got cranky, I input records. I started to see the folders dwindle and the light appeared at the end of the tunnel. And, now I am done!
There are still documents to be input, but most of them are research from 2012 onward. And, most of them are already input.
I learned a lot about my research methods, how I prefer to input information (from notes rather than documents), and generally how to make things easier on myself. I also learned a lot about how you can really screw yourself up by naming computer files incompletely. I’ll write about that in another post.
Today is about positives 🙂 I found some really amazing documents that evidently I found on previous occasions. I don’t know how I could forget them! I’ve cleared up many questions and created a few more.
And, thanks to Randy Seaver’s weekly challenges, I have a snapshot of how much work I have done in the last two years. In 2011, I had 9453 people and 3458 families. There were 24096 events and 1667 sources with 14579 citations. Today I have 10481 people and 3835 families. There are 25235 events and 1948 sources with 21960 citations. I say I did a heck of a lot of input!
Take a look at this beauty! Once, not too long ago, the 2013 research resort folder (previously named 2006-2010, 2011, 2012) was filled with so many surname folders that the scroll bar went on and on and on. Now, it’s just a handful of well organized folders (that I still need to go through, but this is way better than it was before!)
I know that my database will never be perfect. I never fully recovered from losing all my sources a few years back (it was a software upgrade gone wrong). But, I know that everything I get from the project forward will be input, it will have sources, and I will be able to find the document on my computer. And, I will have backups…on a flash drive and in the cloud–and I will update them regularly.
I hope to never be in this position again. It’s a frustrating, awful, maddening place to be.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com