Researching your Family History can be intimidating.
Where to begin, how to begin, how to organize, are just some of the questions that come up.
Depending on what information you have, or don't have, and about who, making a Task List can be simple, or complex.
The challenges are enough to make you ask why do genealogy at all? ;-D
This post is not about my own lists, as I am not ready yet to make any, but about why doing so might be a good idea, and a resource to help get you started.
At the encouragement of a new genealogical acquantance I bought a book, the other day, by Emily Anne Croom.
The genealogist who plans and organizes without good research has no real success, for the results are meaningless.The one who tries to do the appropriate research little scraps of paper, without planning, or organization, finds that success is ellusive, litterally lost in the shuffle.
But the genealogist who plans and organizes and researches carefully will experience the excitement, and gratification of accomplishment.
In 20 years of limited research this researcher, who still considers himself a novice, has managed to prove the truth of those words inspite of himself. ;-D
I have found out the fate of a long lost Aunt, the Honeymoon Hide-away of my parents, and numerous exact pieces to the puzzle, as well as tantalizing, and confusing ones, including the Ship Passenger list of the boat my Dad came over on, with his name misspelled, and a 90 year. old Death Certificate with as many questions as answers in what it reveals.
I've got all my research in file folders, in 2 file cabinets, but am beginning to think I need to do more organizing, and planning, taking into account new information I've gathered since the summer.
In her book, The Unpuzzling Your Past Workbook: Essential Forms and Letters for All Genealogists, Emily Anne Croom provides more than 40 tear-out forms designed to help with planning, and organizing your research, and research goals, and in addition to the different types of blank forms, she explains by word, and example, why each is important.
About CHECKLISTS, she writes about how they help with organizing research, and files.
About INDEXES, sher writes about how they do what checklists do, and more. They are an aid in transcribing data of all sorts, as well as your notes.
About INFORMATION GATHING FORMS she writes about how they are time savers, and help you focus on various tasks.
About forms used for REFERENCE AND STUDY, she writes about how, as you gather info, there are ways to consolidate information you may have on families, individuals, and places.
About LETTER WRITING, she writes that some genealogical contacts can be made by telephone, while others require letter writing.
She provides tips, and examples, on queries to journals, and individuals, requests for copies of documents from agencies, and institutions, letters to relatives, and more.
As I look at this book I realize how little I know, and understand about this hobby, and how much I need to learn.
Yes, it's time consuming, intimidating and frustrating, sometimes expensive, and won't be easy.
You will laugh, cry, scratch your head, and shout in joy, or even anger, sometimes in a very public place.
But the thing to remember is that the rewards are enormous, and enormously gratifying, for you, and for those who will live on after you.