Sunday, 12 April 2015

Can Understanding the Research Process Help with Cost and Time Management?

Like many in the genealogy and family history community I have been researching for a number of years. 
I started out when Internet access was by expensive dial up and all that I used it for was email. This was when, those who could, signed up to mailing lists, in the hope of finding someone, who could help find the records needed.

Today I regularly participate in recorded videos or watch live or prerecorded broadcasts. Many of these are educational for both the participants and viewers. One I am currently helping with is Beginning Genealogy Study Group (2015): hosted as a Google+ Hangout on Air by Dear MYRTYLE.
Social media has transformed the way, that information can be shared and for anyone starting to research there is a wealth of resources available, much of it free, if you are just starting out and have not seen any of the aforementioned videos they are well worth watching.

Whilst many may happily give their time and knowledge freely there is always a hidden cost to the availability of information. Nothing in life is free.
It costs to be able to access the Internet for equipment and connection. It also costs in time. 
So we must always consider the balance, as the more time spent on a computer or other devices, is less time spent interacting with our families.
Websites are not always free but a subscription to the main sites will often pay dividends and is much cheaper than costly research trips.

As has been mentioned on here previously many in the genealogy community have decided to do a Genealogy Do Over this year as suggested and supported by Thomas MacEntee in his facebook group and on his website (last week saw the start of cycle 2). The challenge of correcting bad practices and starting over or reviewing how you carry out your research now there are so many online distractions is one that we should all consider doing. Learning from others has never been easier. When we started the Beginning Genealogy Study group we were looking at the Research Process  involving 5 steps. This led me to create a Google Sheet on the Principles of  Family History Research.
This spreadsheet is going to be one of the things I use to direct my research process and I will link it to other resources that I will be using as I build my genealogy toolbox. Please feel free to use it if you think it will help you at present the links are to be found on the Family Search website.

Having a system set up should ultimately save time as I will have a more directed research process. The technology available to assist in this process will be discussed on my Mastering Genealogy Software Blog as I work through the process over these coming months.

As I mentioned above there are educational resources on the internet and this can be entertaining as well, tips on where to research or how to research can be well worth it in both time and monetary terms. Even if you do not work in the same way as others you may find ways of using their suggestions to assist your research process. I was never a fan of mind mapping tools, I would give them a try but then find I never used them as I found them "clunky" or "time consuming" with little reward. However a website called was mentioned on a hangout and when I tried it I found it much more intuitive than others and am now intending to use it as one of the tools in my Genealogy Do Over.


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