Friday, October 9, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over Week 2 Cycle 4: 9-15 October 2015

Genealogy Do-Over Week 2 Cycle 4: 9-15 October 2015

Conducting Self-Interview
There are many different formats to use for your personal interview including a simple written narrative, a bullet point list of dates and places, or a family group sheet. Make sure you take your time and record the important data related to:
  • Birth
  • Marriage(s) and Divorce(s)
  • Religious events including bar/bat mitzvahs, baptisms, confirmations, etc.
  • Children
An additional option is to actually write out your own mini-biography in your own “voice.” You can then extract the data (next week) for your research log and you’ll have a nice memento to pass on to your family.
  • What I Plan to Do: I created both a personal interview and a family group sheet for myself and my parents. The interview is important – it is a “brain dump” of what I know in terms of dates, places etc.
  • “All-In” Participant Options: Select an interview format that works for you and enables you to extract the necessary information to launch your initial research next week.
  • Modified Participant Options: Review any copies of family group sheets in your files and check them for accuracy.
Conducting Family Interviews
Once your interview is done, create a list of aunts, uncles, cousins and other relations who would have information about your parents, grandparents and other extended family members. Again, the format and method of interviewing is up to you. Some options:
  • Family Group Sheet: If you have a fillable form (print or online) have your family members complete as much information as possible about their own immediate families.
  • Record an Interview: With today’s technology it is easier than ever to record an interview. Consider using Skype and one of the several Skype recording programs. Or download an app for your iPhone or Android device. Yes, you will have to transcribe or record the information, but what can compare to preserving the voice of a family member as they describe their family’s history?
Setting Research Goals
While I have listed this topic first in this week’s series of topics, you really need some initial data (from the interviews above) before you can set research goals. Very often people set goals such as “trace my family’s Irish roots” that are too broad or are based on family lore or assumptions.

Set goals based on information from initial interviews; don’t worry if you believe some information is incorrect. Next week we will create research goals to prove or disprove data points. Create a simple list such as “verify birth location for _________” or “determine parents of _________.” Next week these goals will form the start of your research plan.
  • What I Plan to Do: I actually did Family Group Sheets for myself (easy since I have no children) and both my parents. I also spent time on the phone with some of my aunts asking questions. I took notes because they weren’t comfortable being recorded on Skype – I ALWAYS ask permission when I interview a family members. It is important that they understand how the information will be used and how it will be recorded.
  • All-In Participant Options: Use paper, Evernote, OneNote, or any program to track your research goals.
  • Modified Participant Options: If you have existing lists of research goals, verify that they are in line with any family group sheet data. Create new goals based on new insights after reviewing the data.


Well, with family interviews, I'll finish those over the holidays ... I've got some information on family group sheets, and I'll send them to family members to review and revise ... they'll remember things I forget, so I feel pretty good that I'll get fairly accurate and complete sheets back from them.

I'm getting ready to start self-interviews. I plan on video recording them so I'll have an artifact to leave.

Some research goals:
  • Verify birth location for George Milton Rice, and Edna Virena Perkins
  • Verify marriage date and location for George and Edna
  • Verify residence in Oklahoma Territory

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