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Monday, January 25, 2010

52 Weeks - Challenge 3 - Assess Yourself!

I'm participating in Amy Coffin's "52 Weeks to Better Genealogy" challenge. Having missed week 2 entirely, I'm now submitting the Week 3 challenge late.

Week 3: Assess yourself! You’re great at researching everyone else’s history, but how much of your own have you recorded? Do an assessment of your personal records and timeline events to ensure your own life is as well-documented as that of your ancestors. If you have a genealogy blog, write about the status of your own research and steps you may take to fill gaps and document your own life.

My first reaction to this challenge was to think that I haven't done too badly.
  • My birth and marriage are listed in my database, with appropriate source citations. Hard copies of my birth and marriage certificates are in my genealogy file. 
  • My education and employment history is listed in full, although not with source citations. I will have to at least write a note to put on file as a source. 
  • The residence information in there is accurate, but again not sourced. I'll use the same solution for that - write a note for my file and use that as a source. It's really just a formalised way of saying the source is me, but at least there will be a piece of paper for someone someday, perhaps, to find even if they regard it as only a clue.
  • I've not done quite so well on recording home ownership. I've recorded the purchase of my first house but not it's sale or the purchase of my current home.

A notable absence from the list is census returns. We have 5-yearly censuses here, the next one should be in 2011. I had good intentions to take copies of the census forms I filled out for the last few censuses, but never actually did it. That is definately something I will have to improve on in future.
Overall I think the basic information is mostly there, but it's a bit dull. If we were talking about one of my ancestors I would love to find photos, newpaper clippings, letters... anything that gives a glimpse of them as something more than an entry in a database. This I think should be my highest priority where my own life is concerned. It's the kind of information that you can't get (eventually) from public sources. The challenge, and I think it's a tough one, is deciding what is likely to be of any interest to anyone!!

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