Become a Better Researcher

Our research problems are unique and our genealogy software, to be useful, must be flexible enough to match our respective problems and our respective methods. The Master Genealogist is that software, but power and flexibility has a down side. The more options a program has, the more decisions the user must make. This year, the Tri-Valley TMG User Group will explore those options and make some of those personal decisions. Would you like to play along with us? Do each month's assignment, and if you like, e-mail it to us at: We'll post some of the completed assignments on this blog each month. Let's hear it for choices!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My "Family Legend" Story - Finally!

It seems to have taken me forever to write what should have been a simple article: the story of our family's purported relationship to James Fenimore Cooper; but writing assignments are never easy for me. Here it is, at long last: "We're Related to James Fenimore Cooper - Or So I've Been Told."

This article differs from most of the ones I've written this year. First, some of it is written in the first person. When it comes to family legends, we're not simply researchers; we're participants. Despite the presence of source citations, it's also written more for my family than for fellow researchers. Therefore, the citations have morphed from footnotes to endnotes.

There is a genealogical summary which began with TMG's "Point to Point" journal report, a report that focuses on the direct line. Did this report come with TMG, or did I create it? I honestly don't remember. Various style considerations are a combination of NGSQ and Register styles, a style that I find a little easier to produce than something a little more strict.

Revisiting this year's goals.
  • We want to develop the habit of analyzing each record we use, and not just enter each information bit without thinking about its meaning.
  • We want to make conscious decisions on what data we want to enter into TMG, how we enter that data, and how we will use that data in our research.
  • We want to develop the habit of writing research reports and real family histories, not just printing out pedigree charts and family group sheets.
  • We want to make TMG fit our research needs and goals. We don't want to make our research practices fit TMG.
This is what we tried to do this year. I had fun with these assignments, and I hope everyone else did, too. Did you achieve your goals?

December's Agenda.
  • Wholly Genes officially closes its doors on December 31st. Before that happens, we all need to make sure that we're prepared to keep TMG running for as long as we want. Before you leave, we'll make sure that everyone has the most recent installer for their favorite TMG version, a handy copy of their registration information, a backup of their database, and a better understanding of how to restore that database and the TMG program.
  • We'll review all the tech support options open to us. There may be more help out there than you realize.
  • We'll finish the year with our annual data entry party. Bring your database, recent research reports and documents, and lots of questions. Brainstorming with the group is a great way to solve a problem or pick up some new techniques.

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