Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Check your files from time to time!

This week's Tuesday's Tip is to:  Occasionally check the records and documents that you have collected in your search for elusive ancestors.

As I explained in Alpheus Smith, Elizabeth Dill, Forrest Gump and SNGF, I had not checked the papers collected for Alpheus and Elizabeth (Dill) Smith for a long time.  I had checked my Dill paper files from time-to-time, but not the Smith files.  When I searched for the probate records of Alpheus Smith, in about 2002, in the Norfolk County [Mass.] Probate Records on FHL microfilm, I made copies of about 15 pages.  In a rare paper filing binge, I put them under the "Smith family"tab in the four-inch thick "Medfield families" binder on my bookshelf.  Frankly, I don't remember reading them carefully at the time, and I didn't abstract or transcribe them at the time. My bad!  If I had, I would have seen the "clue" that might lead me to solve my Elizabeth Horton Dill: A Very Elusive Ancestor problem eight years later.

I have about 40 linear feet of paper in my bookcases, and thousands of scanned or digitized documents in my computer, that may contain more clues to solving my elusive ancestor problems.  The answer is, of course, ORGANIZATION.  I need to organize all of those files better, and access them more frequently. 

What surprises lurk in your genealogy files just waiting to be discovered?  You won't know until you look through those files.  Do it on a regular basis!  Now I need to do as I say, eh?


Denielle Radcliff Koch said...

I'm in the process of reorganizing my genealogy paperwork, making sure I have copies of everything and making sure everything is cited. Since I haven't looked at some of it in a couple years, I'm taking the time to look through everything before I refile it.

Already I have found a couple clues that I missed or didn't realize the significance of at the time.

Donna - What's Past is Prologue said...


I've had the same thing happen, and I've felt like such an idiot that I had the clues right in front of me the whole time. I'd bet that at least 95% of us have! I've noticed that we all seem to be on an organizing kick lately. I'm trying!!!


Teresa Wilson Rogers said...

I couldn't agree more. This just happened to me yesterday. A cousin asked if I knew how a great-great grandmother died and I said I believed her death certificate was unavailable. Then I looked in the family file I had when I started doing genealogy in 1993 and guess what I found?!?!