Oh Say Can You “C”? Navigating the Seven Cs of Genealogy

Genealogy educator and author Thomas MacEntee periodically checks the progress of his own Genealogy Do-Over using these themes

The Genealogy Do-Over: Check Your Progress Using These Themes

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Lately, with the New Year upon us, I’ve been contemplating whether or not to adopt the usual “genealogy resolutions” such as “getting organized” etc. Since I started The Genealogy Do-Over, I’ve focused more on “themes” than actual resolutions. Themes don’t feel as constricting as making often unobtainable promises to myself.

I’ve developed a list of seven “themes” to guide me this year and hopefully I can institute these as general “rules to do genealogy by” over the next few years. I think the themes cover most areas of concern for every family historian, whether you’ve been at this for some time or you are just getting started.

  • Clean: Take inventory of what is in my genea-cave, get organized and make it easier to find what I need. This also means cleaning up and organizing digital files and folders as well as Internet favorites and bookmarks. Why should I spend time searching for stuff to get ready to research when I could better spend that time searching for ancestors?
  • Collect: Create a solid system for capturing information including digital images as well as paper-based document. Become disciplined in saving images and documents IMMEDIATELY and renaming the file to accurately describe the item. Work as if I only have “one pass” on using a source; wring out as much information as possible!
  • Curate: Review source material to see how it proves or disproves a fact. Write a source citation RIGHT AWAY and don’t put it off. Use proven evidence evaluation techniques to determine the reliability of the source. Document, document, document in my research log!
  • Create: Write a concise proof for specific facts as well as specific ancestral relationships. Write ancestor character sketches based on proven facts. Carry this info over to family history books, photo books, blog posts, calendars and other items to share with family members as well as other researchers.
  • Connect: Don’t become isolated especially with a dependency on online resources. Get out and connect with archives and repositories. Connect with other genealogists at conferences and institutes. Use online resources such as Facebook groups, DNA matching communities and more to keep connecting.
  • Conserve: Don’t forget to focus on preserving your work for future generations. This includes creating backup copies of data, scanning and digitizing images as well as videos, slides and audio tapes. Create a “successorship” plan so that a family member, another researcher or a genealogy society can inherit your work and carry the torch forward.
  • Continue: Basically the “rinse and repeat” cycle. Continue following the C’s especially when it comes to education. Stay on top of the latest technologies, apps and programs. Take time to build a reading list of journals and books related to your research. Attend a genealogy conference or online webinars.

Navigating the Genealogy Cs

The Genealogy Do-Over is one of the better ways to learn how to use the Genealogy Cs and incorporate the practices in your own research. Remember that we all approach our family history with different experiences and skill sets; what works for one researcher may not be the best fit for another. Working through The Genealogy Do-Over is a way of finding out the best navigation route for your genealogy research.

 

©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.

1 Comment on "Oh Say Can You “C”? Navigating the Seven Cs of Genealogy"

  1. Regarding “Collect”… I now follow the practice of writing a citation of the provenance of every digital image directly in its metadata, meaning that the information is stored within the image file itself. Adobe Bridge is a free program that provides easy access to the metadata. I write a tentative photo caption in the Title field, and the citation in the Description field. If the image is copyrighted, there are fields to note that also. Finally, I list my own information, including email address, in the fields provided. I should also note that Bridge permits adding metadata tags to the photos that can enable easy searches, e.g. portrait photos versus document photos.

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