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Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Jul 25, 2003

Planning Your Research
By Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA

It doesn't take long once you have started your genealogy adventure to become overwhelmed by the numerous resources available to search, and confused as to where to begin searching. Research success cannot be achieved without organizing and establishing specific goals. A Research Planner can help to focus your attention on a specific goal. It helps you plan in advance what you want to do.

Basically, goal setting involves asking questions, recording questions, and listing resources. As you discover more about the resources available for researching your ancestors, you will be able to set better goals. Don't confuse a Research Planner with a Research Log. A Log only records what was found. A Planner records what was found and what was not found, when a resource was searched, and then what records should be searched.

The key to an effective Research Planner is to pursue one specific goal at a time. If your goal is general, for instance "to complete my genealogy this year", you will soon find that you are overwhelmed and unorganized. Perhaps a more effective goal would be to "identify the parents of David McCall." This goal should be written at the top of your research planner. The rest of the planner deals with the various steps to be taken to achieve your goal. Use a different Research Planner sheet for each goal. By setting and working on one goal at a time, you will soon learn that you've found a key ingredient to research success.

If you ever get a chance to go to the repository where the documents are held, you will already have the records you want to search recorded in your Research Planner. The Planner can also be extremely helpful if you get stuck and need to ask others for help. This Planner will explain to others the sources you've consulted and the methodologies you've followed. Some knowledgeable person just may be able to offer additional suggestions or help point you in the right direction.

A sample of an effective Research Planner can be found at Genealogy Research Associates . This Research Planner has been developed by the professional genealogists at GRA and has been found to be a most helpful tool.

If you are using the MyTrees Online database you might want to use the Family News section of the program. Here you can keep your Research Planner online and updated so all can view the progress of your investigations and perhaps offer suggestions. To use the Family News Section go to MyTrees.com and click "Free Login". After logging in, click "Edit Family News" under "My Account", located to the right in the menu bar.

If you have downloaded the free Legacy Family Tree program, which is available at MyTrees.com , you might have discovered that Legacy has a feature called the To Do List. This feature manages all of your goals and research progress electronically. This To Do List can sort your goals alphabetically, chronologically, by priority, or you can even print your To Do List by repository.

Problem solving together is a good way to come up with ideas of sources to search, but those sources need to be systematically searched. To do this a research plan should be written down, prioritized, and then searched. Research Planners are also a good way to share your research, because you can quickly see what was already searched, who or what you were looking for, which source you searched, and the results of that search. Research Planners, therefore, become part of your research team.

Article written by Karen Clifford from Genealogy Research Associates. Sponsored by MyTrees.com.

Copyright ©: 2011 Karen Clifford. All rights reserved.

No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Jul 25, 2003

Planning Your Research
By Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA

It doesn't take long once you have started your genealogy adventure to become overwhelmed by the numerous resources available to search, and confused as to where to begin searching. Research success cannot be achieved without organizing and establishing specific goals. A Research Planner can help to focus your attention on a specific goal. It helps you plan in advance what you want to do.

Basically, goal setting involves asking questions, recording questions, and listing resources. As you discover more about the resources available for researching your ancestors, you will be able to set better goals. Don't confuse a Research Planner with a Research Log. A Log only records what was found. A Planner records what was found and what was not found, when a resource was searched, and then what records should be searched.

The key to an effective Research Planner is to pursue one specific goal at a time. If your goal is general, for instance "to complete my genealogy this year", you will soon find that you are overwhelmed and unorganized. Perhaps a more effective goal would be to "identify the parents of David McCall." This goal should be written at the top of your research planner. The rest of the planner deals with the various steps to be taken to achieve your goal. Use a different Research Planner sheet for each goal. By setting and working on one goal at a time, you will soon learn that you've found a key ingredient to research success.

If you ever get a chance to go to the repository where the documents are held, you will already have the records you want to search recorded in your Research Planner. The Planner can also be extremely helpful if you get stuck and need to ask others for help. This Planner will explain to others the sources you've consulted and the methodologies you've followed. Some knowledgeable person just may be able to offer additional suggestions or help point you in the right direction.

A sample of an effective Research Planner can be found at Genealogy Research Associates . This Research Planner has been developed by the professional genealogists at GRA and has been found to be a most helpful tool.

If you are using the MyTrees Online database you might want to use the Family News section of the program. Here you can keep your Research Planner online and updated so all can view the progress of your investigations and perhaps offer suggestions. To use the Family News Section go to MyTrees.com and click "Free Login". After logging in, click "Edit Family News" under "My Account", located to the right in the menu bar.

If you have downloaded the free Legacy Family Tree program, which is available at MyTrees.com , you might have discovered that Legacy has a feature called the To Do List. This feature manages all of your goals and research progress electronically. This To Do List can sort your goals alphabetically, chronologically, by priority, or you can even print your To Do List by repository.

Problem solving together is a good way to come up with ideas of sources to search, but those sources need to be systematically searched. To do this a research plan should be written down, prioritized, and then searched. Research Planners are also a good way to share your research, because you can quickly see what was already searched, who or what you were looking for, which source you searched, and the results of that search. Research Planners, therefore, become part of your research team.

Article written by Karen Clifford from Genealogy Research Associates. Sponsored by MyTrees.com.

Copyright ©: 2011 Karen Clifford. All rights reserved.

No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Jul 25, 2003

Planning Your Research
By Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA

It doesn't take long once you have started your genealogy adventure to become overwhelmed by the numerous resources available to search, and confused as to where to begin searching. Research success cannot be achieved without organizing and establishing specific goals. A Research Planner can help to focus your attention on a specific goal. It helps you plan in advance what you want to do.

Basically, goal setting involves asking questions, recording questions, and listing resources. As you discover more about the resources available for researching your ancestors, you will be able to set better goals. Don't confuse a Research Planner with a Research Log. A Log only records what was found. A Planner records what was found and what was not found, when a resource was searched, and then what records should be searched.

The key to an effective Research Planner is to pursue one specific goal at a time. If your goal is general, for instance "to complete my genealogy this year", you will soon find that you are overwhelmed and unorganized. Perhaps a more effective goal would be to "identify the parents of David McCall." This goal should be written at the top of your research planner. The rest of the planner deals with the various steps to be taken to achieve your goal. Use a different Research Planner sheet for each goal. By setting and working on one goal at a time, you will soon learn that you've found a key ingredient to research success.

If you ever get a chance to go to the repository where the documents are held, you will already have the records you want to search recorded in your Research Planner. The Planner can also be extremely helpful if you get stuck and need to ask others for help. This Planner will explain to others the sources you've consulted and the methodologies you've followed. Some knowledgeable person just may be able to offer additional suggestions or help point you in the right direction.

A sample of an effective Research Planner can be found at Genealogy Research Associates . This Research Planner has been developed by the professional genealogists at GRA and has been found to be a most helpful tool.

If you are using the MyTrees Online database you might want to use the Family News section of the program. Here you can keep your Research Planner online and updated so all can view the progress of your investigations and perhaps offer suggestions. To use the Family News Section go to MyTrees.com and click "Free Login". After logging in, click "Edit Family News" under "My Account", located to the right in the menu bar.

If you have downloaded the free Legacy Family Tree program, which is available at MyTrees.com , you might have discovered that Legacy has a feature called the To Do List. This feature manages all of your goals and research progress electronically. This To Do List can sort your goals alphabetically, chronologically, by priority, or you can even print your To Do List by repository.

Problem solving together is a good way to come up with ideas of sources to search, but those sources need to be systematically searched. To do this a research plan should be written down, prioritized, and then searched. Research Planners are also a good way to share your research, because you can quickly see what was already searched, who or what you were looking for, which source you searched, and the results of that search. Research Planners, therefore, become part of your research team.

Article written by Karen Clifford from Genealogy Research Associates. Sponsored by MyTrees.com.

Copyright ©: 2011 Karen Clifford. All rights reserved.

No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

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