Thursday, March 13, 2008

Regrets and Actions To Be Proud Of ...

For the past few days genealogy bloggers have been blogging about their research regrets and successes. These posts were started when Randy wrote about his regrets (and then later successes) and footnoteMaven including her successes with her regrets. After reading several of the posts, I've decided to write about my regrets and successes.

So, what are my three regrets? Well ...
  1. Not interviewing my maternal grandpa - This is my biggest regret, as I never really asked about his side of the family, his childhood or military service during World War Two. I think the best time to have asked him questions would have been when I was between 8 and 11 years old. (I had to do a family tree project when I was 11. I should have asked more questions then.) He has now passed away, so I can't ask him now.
  2. Visiting cemeteries before going to the library - The first time I went to do research in Saint Joseph County, I wasted about three hours of research time searching for the burial places of my ancestors. I was with my grandparents, and we were trying to find the cemeteries that my grandparents had visited about twenty years before with my grandfather's aunt. Obviously, we were not successful with our search at that time. We ended up arriving at the library in Three Rivers with only having enough time to do research for an hour. If we had gone to the library first, we probably would have been able to find the graves much sooner.
  3. I have a few other regrets, but compared to the two above regrets, they are fairly minor, and I can still find the information. (These regrets primarily have to do with not paying attention to the details at the time I read my day's research.)

My three greatest successes are:

  1. Reading a how-to-do genealogy book first - My greatest success is probably having read how to genealogy research first, before I actually even attempted to start digging for answers. I think this action has saved me from making many major mistakes that can befall a novice genealogist.
  2. Interviewing my three surviving grandparents - I think asking my other three grandparents what they knew or remembered about our family's history was one of the best steps I could have taken. Many of my first "leads" came from interviewing my grandparents.
  3. Citing my sources from the beginning - I think keeping or writing notes on where I found a record has been a great success. There have been a couple of times that writing done the location of a source has helped me in double-checking my notes. (A couple times, I mistranscribed a record.)

Well, those are my regrets and successes. I really don't have that many in either category as I have only been doing research now for about four-and-a-half years.

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