April 28, 2009

Genealogy Objective 2 – Tell the Ancestor Stories

Posted in Abbott, Genealogy at 5:29 am by hoosierroots

A couple of days ago I listed my seven genealogy objectives. Now it is time to turn these rather lofty objectives into actionable goals.

Objective 2: Breathe life into these ancestors by accumulating details, expanding the research into their families and neighbors, and putting them into their historical and social context.

As is true for most genealogists, I do not feel my job is done when I merely have the names and birth-death-marriage dates for my ancestors. While technically this is all tha is needed to build the family tree, it does not tell us who are ancestors were. My need to know then runs much deeper. I want to be able to tell their stories.

One of the challenges that has slowed down my research is the amount of material that I have collected, but have not organized. Some of that is perhaps because I struggle with basic organizational issues or maybe trying to do too much at the same time. But the issue exploded as the among of material I have grew exponentially when I received the materials my aunt had gathered a few years ago after her death. At about the same time I launched my family history website HoosierRoots which has helped me connect with more distant cousins than I would have ever imagined.

All this leads to my decision to expand this goal to included organizing the materials I have, for I can’t tell the stories if I can’t even find what I have. This is a task that will take months, if not years, so let’s get started.

Goal 2a: Organize my Abbott family papers by May 30, 2009. Go through the file folders, eliminate duplicate and unnecessary papers. Scan the remainder and organize on my hard drive and make a backup. Gather and print the “useful” emails from other Abbott researchers. Enter the Abbott data into my genealogy software Genbox. File the remaining paperwork into a binder, organized by generation. Constantly remind myself that this goal is not about conducting more research on the Abbott line; this is where I typically get side-tracked. Do feel free however to list ideas for further research as they occur to me.

Goal 2b: Read Our Company Increases Apace: History, Language, and Social Identity in Early Colonial Andover, Massachusettsby Elinor Abbot. Complete by May 30, 2009. This book gives a wonderful background on the founding of Andover, the colonial home of the Abbotts. This is the type of material that helps to expand the picture of what life was like for our ancestors.

Goal 2c. Write a summary of the Abbott family. Without making it the perfect narrative, summarize what I have learned so far on the Abbott family. Conclude with ideas for further research. Complete by June 30, 2009.

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