I have to admit, when first planning to write on this challenge I made an assumption. We genealogists all have a list of "Dos" and "Dont's" when it comes to researching as well as a list of commandments gathered from the books we read and the seminars we attend. "Do not assume anything" is right up at the top of every list, and yet when I sat down to write this entry I had to chuckle to myself.
All week I had planned on writing about this challenge, one created by Amy Coffin for this year titled "52 Weeks to Better Genealogy" that are being supported by the Genea-Bloggers Group on Facebook. I had delayed in writing because I wanted to take a few moments to review my genealogy resolutions for 2010 first. Why make a list of goals for the year if there are no plans to follow them, right? (By the way, so far I am doing all right. I am in the middle of getting wayward papers filed where they belong and have assembled some new modular furniture for my tiny den that is helping control location central).
The irony is that the challenge for this week titled "Assess Yourself" was not about doing an assessment of my research goals, it was to do an assessment of my personal records and timeline events in order to make sure that future generations find my life well documented and included in my genealogy records. That's what happens when I make assumptions, yet it is a perfect time and reminder for me and for all of us as we move forward in our genealogy pursuits.
So, how am I doing? How do I plan on improving? I would consider myself one of those ancestors with a spotty record at this time. I have gathered all the important papers including birth, marriage, real estate, school, etc. into one location, and I have copies recorded in relevant binder (I have my direct lines in 3-ring binders separated into categories such as census, military, everyday life, etc. Siblings are included into their own sections, and any records for my ancestor before marriage go in the binder with their parents).
I enjoy scrapbooking and am currently beginning what's called "Project Life" by Becky Higgins. In Project Life you take one photo a day and write a quick little note. You can also put a movie ticket stub or any other memorabilia if you don't want to take a picture. The kits are supposed to be available on Amazon next week. I like that it gives a snapshot of everyday life, and I did the same thing last year with a previous kit.
There are other steps to take, including gathering past writings, putting togther a photo album, and doing my own interview of myself that might bring out some areas for pursuit. Putting togther my own timeline of my life should bring up many ideas on records to gather,and pictures to put in an album that would best represent my life. I also like the journal prompt books that are available that ask everything from favorites to political views.
I think I will take this challenge and spend some time each week on myself as well as on those elusive ancestors.