Check, Check & Checklist

Innis Family Tree

Let me just add a short note here about the use of checklists. Checklists are one of those things that work for some people and don’t for others. Arwen has one of those organized brains and I doubt her list (if she even has one) is anything like mine. I like to think I’m organized, but the simple truth is that I’m often just following a trail and not doing so in an organized manner. While this makes me a decent genealogist – it can also make me a lousy genealogist.

Following the trail of a family is a little bit like being in a large maze. The trick is to follow the trail wherever it takes you, but when you hit a wall you need to back up and look for a new trail. To do that you have to look at everything around you, and leave a trail of bread crumbs so you can get back to where you began. A lot of family lines that you explore are going to be like those blind alleys in a maze.

Checklists are a lot like any organizational tool. Not everyone works in the same way and you should do what works for you. I generally only use mine when I’m stuck, and I’m going back to review my work. As we noticed in the earlier post I should probably use one more often.

Create your own checklist by making a list of the things you should check every time. Such as the census records for the lifespan of the person you are working on. Not just the federal census records, but also the state census records. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Mine is literally a list that says:
State Census
Family Trees
Message Boards
Family Trees

Family Search:
Ancestral Files

Then I list all the other things that I routinely look at when I’m stuck. Make your own and then use it. Otherwise, Arwen will likely be pointing out the obvious thing you missed in your research.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.