Genealogy Do-Over: My Way, My Thoughts

Genealogy Do-Over

A Thomas MacEntee online community
A Thomas MacEntee online community

GeneaBloggers Blog site creator, Thomas MacEntee, posted (link above) on December 15, 2014, an announcement in regards to a Genealogy Do-Over. I have decided to participate in the community supported event. Thomas’s provided a group Genealogy Do-Over Facebook page, with eight hundred plus community genealogy enthusiast, at various skill levels. The numbers are growing daily. Thank you Thomas MacEntee, Genealogy Do-Over Community and the Genealogy Community for all your support in the past, present and future.

In preparation for this Do-Over I filed away all my paper research records, organized my existing digital research, gathered my resource books in one place, set up a Genealogy Toolkit and blank Surname folders on a new external drive. My goal is not to use my existing digital and paper files in my research. I have the books at hand, but again will try to seek other sources before uses them. The tool kit includes blank forms, educational tips, empty state folders for the three states I know my parents and grandparents can be found and last but not least, empty surname folders of my current surnames.

My reasoning behind the blank state and surname folders are two-fold.

  1. I feel comfortable starting with something I know. The three states are documented locations for my parents and grandparents. I feel grounded, or should I say rooted, to my family tree.
  2. Surname folders will be added as needed or deleted, if not verified at the end of my Genealogy Do-Over. This gives me a general idea of what needs to be researched to fill in the blanks.

I have a calendar just for the weekly goals that Thomas has planned for us. I established my own research Goals. I reviewed Tom and Alison Taylor’s, founders of, “How to interview yourself for a personal history,” so I can start with myself and what I do know firsthand, before I interview my family members. I sent a “family group sheet and Microsoft document with interview questions that I plan to ask them, to each of my family members. This gives them a head ups to what I will be looking for and start filling in or finding the corresponding documents before I interview them.  I know some will not even look at it until I actual come for a visit, but hope is eternal.

I reviewed Thomas W Jones Mastering Genealogical Proof, to remind myself of what I need to do to properly research and cite my research, as I go. Now on to my goals I set for myself. I will adjust, if needed, based on community support and suggestions as I proceed

My Genealogy Do-Over Goals:


  1. Use the S.O.A.P. Note for each ancestor: Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan
  2. K.I.S. (Keep it simple) and on point Research Questions that answer Relationship, Identity and Activity for each ancestor
  3. RECORD all research in a research log. Remember to Date each note.
  4. CITE! CITE! CITE all your sources according to Evidence Explained using the Quick Check Models (
  5. Remember the Who-What-When-Where is-Where in when citing your sources.
  6. Be motivated to stay on task. No side trips. Make a note that research is needed for….
  7. Follow the GPS guidelines. (Genealogical Proof Standards) (
  8. Remember the type of document: Primary, Secondary, or[ unable to determine (try not to use)}
  9. Be realistic in my research
  10. Follow Liza Alzo’s S.M.A.R.T system of setting goals (
  11. Gather documents as close to ORIGINALS as possible
  12. Think OUT Of THE BOX. New research avenues you haven’t used before
  13. Blog about progress at least once a week
  14. Make every attempt to Fill in the Blanks before moving on
  15. Follow the genealogy Checklist for each ancestor (
  16. Follow Thomas MacEntee’s weekly goals
  17. Try to find one new ancestor to research weekly, keeping goals in mind
  18. Adjust Goals, as needed, to keep on track.
  19. Don’t be Afraid to ask for help in the Do-Over community
  20. Have FUN with your Research. If not having Fun, step away and regroup.

These goals may seem overwhelming to some people. They are actually very easy to follow. I used most of them in the past for all my research be it genealogical or personal along with monthly backups of all files. My two MAIN CHALLENGES, will be keeping the research log up to date and not short cutting my citation records. I know I will have the tendency to cite my sources the old fashion way with MLA, or Chicago style. I must remember to follow the Evidence Explained format. In prepping for this Genealogy Do-Over, I must admit I reviewed my files I had researched since the mid 1970’s. Most had the old fashion type of citations. My Family Tree had what I called place holder citations (indexes), as a reminder of where to do more research. I do not want indexes as citation, I need to force myself to find those sources, review them first hand whenever possible or move on to another source to verify.


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