Going in Circles

I’ve actually made it to week 11 of the Genealogy Do-Over! I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to keep up with the project once the school year got underway but am thankful that I have been able to find time to at least read the ‘assignments’ and related posts.

I haven’t made it very far in my actual go-over. I’ve been trying to slow down and apply the skills learned so far. In the process of ‘going over’ my previous work, I’ve taken the time to scan the photos and family documents. This process is helping me find the ‘holes’ in my research.

Since I’m barely done with my parents on the ‘go-over’, it was hard to actually do anything for weeks 8 and 9: collateral and cluster research. However, those research skills are not foreign to me as I have two ‘brick walls’ involving people of the ‘same name.’ Someone in my early years of genealogy said to use the neighbors to help break down the wall. Although my walls still exist, all of my research on the ‘neighbors’ has helped separate the men with the same name. My ‘same name’ struggle has also lead me to research all children in a family in hopes that their records might lead to something to get me thru the wall(s).

In hopes of making headway on these walls, I anxiously awaited the results of my Ancestry DNA test. I got those results a few weeks ago and my walls still stand! I had so hoped that DNA would show a connection between the two James Crawford families of Preble County Ohio. Unfortunately, when my DNA was compared to a descendant of the other James, there wasn’t anything in common. Since one would have to go back at least 6 generations before having a chance of finding a relationship, I haven’t given up hope that the lines connect.

Since my DNA testing hasn’t been as helpful as I had hoped, it’s time to turn to week 11 and a BSO (bright shiny object) – social media. Social media is a popular and relatively new way to make connections. However, social media can ‘suck’ away the time at an alarming rate. Thus, I classify it as a BSO. Don’t get me wrong — I love my social media. Having recently discovered all of the genealogy groups and pages on Facebook has only added to my ‘addiction’ to that platform. For me, social media is my personal learning community. As a school librarian and technology integrator in a small rural school, social media has allowed me to connect with others around Kansas and the nation. In that role, I am most active on Twitter under the name @ncteklib. Twitter is a great way to share a blog, news article or new resource. I have a Pinterest account with several boards but am not active on it on a regular basis. Twitter and Pinterest are both in my ‘learning’ toolbox. However, when it comes to connecting to other researchers via social media, I prefer Facebook. I find it easier to have a ‘conversation’ over Facebook than over other social media platforms.

Unfortunately, it is those connections with other researchers that I find myself going in circles. When I find someone else’s tree that appears to link to mine I’m thrilled thinking I’ve found someone to critique my research. I’m very thankful for those connections that I have made and for the critical analysis of my research but I haven’t made very many of those connections. Instead, the trees and research that I find takes me in a circle since they often cite my research.

Thus, it is back to the slow process of carefully documented original research in the records.