Important Changes to The Genealogy Do-Over

Genealogy author and educator Thomas MacEntee announces changes to the format of the popular education initiative The Genealogy Do-Over.

A Reset to The Genealogy Do-Over for 2019

As the originator of The Genealogy Do-Over concept which has had a successful four-year run, I feel the need to make some major changes to the format of the program, as well as to the access platforms (Facebook and Abundant Genealogy). Before anyone panics and leaves the Facebook Group or posts their opinion in the comments, I ask that you please hear me out. My goal here is to move on to an exciting new genealogy education concept while at the same time preserve a tried-and-true concept so that both may serve the genealogy community.

Why End The Genealogy Do-Over Now?

The Genealogy Do-Over began on January 1, 2015, and the concept was enthusiastically embraced by the genealogy and family history community. The original concept was for all the “do-over” tasks to be completed in a 13-week cycle. During 2015, the cycle was repeated several times for a total of four cycles. Starting in 2016, The Genealogy Do-Over concept was changed to a year-long cycle allowing more time to complete specified tasks.

After four years, I believe the concept itself is “self-sustainable” and doesn’t require a large Facebook Group with 17,000 members. I believe that if a stand-alone website called The Genealogy Do-Over were to be created, along with various free downloads, and even making the PDF version of The Genealogy Do-Over Workbook permanently free, the concept can still be helpful to genealogists of all skill levels.

In addition, I really feel the need to create a new online genealogy community with a different focus. In order to do so, I would need to utilize the time I now spend on The Genealogy Do-Over on that new endeavor. One issue I’ve always had with The Genealogy Do-Over concept is the use of a timeline of activities, especially when we do a “reboot” and start a cycle again in January of each year. Many new members feel that can’t join part-way through the year.

Your Input Needed!

Before I spell out the changes that I anticipate making to The Genealogy Do-Over concept, rest assured that over the next three months, I will be seeking input from anyone interested or involved in The Genealogy Do-Over. An on-going dialog will be started soon at The Genealogy Do-Over Facebook Group consisting of posts, polls and more with the goal of gathering input and ideas. I can’t guarantee that all suggestions will be incorporated, but please realize that my intent is to truly listen to group members as to what The Genealogy Do-Over means to them and how they have been utilizing the features.

Smarter Genealogy: A Different Kind of Genealogy Do-Over

So the new concept is called Smarter Genealogy and the focus is on educational resources to help genealogists of ALL skill levels work smarter not harder when it comes to research.

For several years now I’ve wanted one site where I can share ALL of the educational resources that I’ve created for the genealogy community. Features of Smarter Genealogy will include:

  • Lessons covering basic research tasks such as creating a To Do List, using a Research Log, saving Record Images and more.
  • Each lesson will show a variety of technology platforms to accomplish the same task; i.e., using Trello, Evernote, Legacy Family Tree and more to create a To Do List. Visitors will be encouraged to use the platform that best suits their research and research habits.
  • Each lesson will have a “Success Sheet” with instructions and links for further reading related to the topic.
  • Each lesson will also have a short video available demonstrating how to accomplish each task in the lesson.
  • Smarter Genealogy will also have a podcast covering genealogy education topics and will feature guest genealogy educators from around the world.

The focus of Smarter Genealogy will NOT be learning concepts in a specific order or along a designated timeline like The Genealogy Do-Over. Smarter Genealogy is oriented more towards the concept of Just In Time Training . . . meaning the lessons are available when YOU are ready to learn a new concept or you need to better understand a record set in order to succeed with your genealogy and family history research.

Will Smarter Genealogy Be Free?

Right now, to be honest, I’m torn between deploying a totally FREE platform or utilizing a “freemium” concept (meaning free for basic content and a fee for premium content). In general, I believe that the content I create and generate should be available for free and in an unfettered manner for all genealogists. In order for this to succeed, I need to ensure that my income from sites such as Genealogy Bargains and DNA Bargains covers the costs of running Smarter Genealogy.

Another alternative is to have a small membership fee – say $1.99 USD or $2.99 USD per month via a platform such as Patreon to access the premium content. Or I could simply post a donation link via Paypal and “pass the hat” as it were.

Your input would be appreciated over at The Genealogy Do-Over Facebook Group; look for a poll or post related to Smarter Genealogy in the next few weeks.

Anticipated Changes to The Genealogy Do-Over

Here is what I anticipate changing with The Genealogy Do-Over:

  • Creating of a stand-along website at which will host the 12 different lessons and links to all resources currently listed in different posts at Abundant Genealogy. Right now this URL forwards to all of The Genealogy Do-Over articles at Abundant Genealogy.
  • All content related to The Genealogy Do-Over at Abundant Genealogy will remain as is and not be removed. There are too many search engine results that point to these materials.
  • The current cycle of The Genealogy Do-Over will continue with the last posting on December 1st, 2018, at The Genealogy Do-Over and at The Genealogy Do-Over Facebook Group.
  • The Genealogy Do-Over Facebook Group will either bea) CONVERTED to a Smarter Genealogy Facebook Group with all previous files and posts preserved; orb) ARCHIVED and placed in a “suspended” status where no new content can be added after December 31st, 2018, but all files and posts will be available to members; and

    c) A new Smarter Genealogy Facebook Group will be created with an invitation extended to all current members of The Genealogy Do-Over Facebook Group.

  • The Genealogy Do-Over email list on Mailchimp will be suspended and current members will be invited to join a new Smarter Genealogy email list.

Another option is to set up a Facebook Page for The Genealogy Do-Over which would remove the membership options allow more interactivity, but still serve as a point of access to The Genealogy Do-Over website.

Thank You for Your Support of The Genealogy Do-Over Concept

The Genealogy Do-Over would never have succeeded without the support and input of thousands of genealogy and family history enthusiasts. Please know that I am strongly committed to the idea of making sure that everyone can build a phenomenal family tree with strong, deep roots that will serve as a family legacy. This means breaking bad research habits, embracing proven methodology concepts, and interacting with others online to keep learning and improving research.

At this time, my gut tells me that moving to a more dynamic platform such as Smarter Genealogy will better serve that target audience. Thanks for hearing me out and please feel free to comment below or email me at with your thoughts.

©2018, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Thomas MacEntee
Genealogy educator and author Thomas MacEntee has been researching his family history for more than 40 years and is the creator of Abundant Genealogy, Genealogy Bargains, DNA Bargains, The Genealogy Do-Over and numerous other web-based genealogy and family history properties.

12 Comments on "Important Changes to The Genealogy Do-Over"

  1. Linda K Hansen | 17 September 2018 at 6:25 pm |

    I haven’t done much but think about a do over. Doesn’t hurt to make things better or easier.

  2. Sue McCormick | 17 September 2018 at 6:26 pm |

    Thomas, this looks very exciting to me. I will eagerly await your further comments.

  3. Deborah Holman | 17 September 2018 at 7:19 pm |

    II was one of the first participants in the Genealogy Do-Over in 2015. It is hands-down the most important and helpful genealogical learning activity I have ever experienced. I often refer to the materials and
    continue to strive towards always using “best practice.” That being said, I completely agree that the Do-Over could use a change. The “program” is truly an independent learning course and there are plenty of supports available for those needing feedback. Most importantly, making the Do-Over “self-sufficient” will allow you to use your energies to provide even more learning opportunities for us. On behalf of the genealogical community- thank you!

  4. Sounds great. Count me in as you mov forward.

  5. I admire your creativity, and think you are a marketing genius. I wish you luck in the new format.

  6. I like the idea. I joined Do Over a few months ago, have read a few posts, but having no plans to do anything over, I had started to lose interest. I’m updating and fixing as I go along learning as much as I can along the way and making very careful I don’t rush into anything then either lose info or have to do it twice. I like the idea of a new focus for those of us that aren’t doing it over. The generous sharing of free workbooks, manuals and information is an added bonus of having joined. Thanks

  7. Eileen Trickey | 17 September 2018 at 9:40 pm |

    Thomas, I think we always need to move forward and expand our knowledge in order to grow. Your plans sound exciting and I look forward to seeing how this develops. I will continue to support you….Eileen

  8. Leanne Alhorn | 17 September 2018 at 10:13 pm |

    I think your idea sounds like a good one. It may draw in more people especially those who are not as experienced. I look forward to seeing what your final decision will be.

  9. Sounds exciting Thomas. Looking forward to seeing the changes. Love and appreciate what you do for us

  10. I think that’s a fantastic idea. Learning is what it’s all about. Thanks for all the work you do and continue to do for all of us on this marvelous experience discovering who our ancestors are. Can’t wait to see your new ideas!

  11. Thomas, I like the idea of an archive of the Do-Over lessons so people can start at any time of year. I also love the Smarter Genealogy idea, sort of a cafeteria approach. You can get information and help on the topic that you need when you need it. I would be willing to pay an annual fee, reasonable of course, for premium access to help pay some of the expenses. I love the forms, info, etc., that you share so freely with everyone but you do need to make a living.

  12. I have been along for the ride since the beginning of the Genealogy Do-Over. It makes sense that you believe it’s time for a change. I agree and like the ideas you have mentioned here. You have always been very generous with your time and products and I can certainly understand that you need to generate income in order to continue. As a person with a very limited income I have managed to acquire so much knowledge without breaking the bank- thanks to your generosity.
    Lately, I have been finding lots of people, companies and organizations offering webinars, books and lessons that are more than I can afford and I continue to search for the free or affordable alternatives.
    If you were to offer some things free and some not, I will just make choices based on the situation. That seems fair to me. I don’t usually like committing myself to an annual renewable fee but can do so in some instances.
    I just wanted to let you know that I think change is good and I will continue to stay tuned for as long as I can. Thank you for all you do.

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