Sunday, July 17, 2022

Take the time to write about your research.

 I'm disappointed that I've not written as many blog posts as I'd planned to over the first half of this year.  However, it is because I've spent more time researching.  This spring I wrote an article about one set of my paternal great grandparents, James Jakes & Annie Frizzell and their descendants.  I just scratched the surface in it but ended up with about 15 pages with footnotes.  I've started to gather my research to do the same thing with the other paternal great grandparents, William Green Cook & Jane Bell King and their descendants.

Over the last 32 years of research I've accumulated information in the form of research notes, pictures, copies of documents(both certified and photo copies), family ephemera, etc.   It's a struggle to sort thru everything.  I'm trying to digitize anything that I want to share and keep the originals or a copy of the more personal papers.  Condensing and downsizing has me thinking about my research and what will become of it when I am no longer around.  

Maybe you have asked yourself the same questions: 

  • Once you are gone will your people take the time to open your family research program and preserve your research?
  • Do they know the passwords to even get to your files?
It's scary to think about things like that especially if you think the answer is NO. Even if you are prepared and have a plan I think far and away the best solution to preserve your research is to write about it.  I used to take the time every few years to put together a notebook on my 4 main families. I haven't done that in a good while. 

Think of it as a State of the Union for your research which could include:
  • What You Know and How You Know It
  • What You Would like to Know and what it will take to get that info
  • Questions that you have
  • Future Research Projects.  

Some of these topics overlap but you get the point.  Writing or publishing your research is the best way to make sure that it's not lost especially if you are submitting your articles to Historical or Genealogical Quarterly magazines.  Writing about your research will help you to see where there is room for further research.  Which will lead you to more things to write about.  See where I'm going?


  1. This is why I started my blog - I realized that all my research would just sit on my computer and no-one would care. Plus, by writing about my research, I've worked through some brick walls. While I haven't submitted to journals, I started footnoting my blog posts heavily after the first couple of years. Just wish I had more time to work on it, but I still work full time...

  2. Anonymous7:35 PM

    About ten years ago, I began thinking about this problem when I was diagnosed with a non-curable blood cancer. My solution was to make some informal booklets summarizing my research. They are just printed from my computer and have pressboard covers. They contain stories about my ancestors, a family tree, maps of the immigrant’s birthplace, photos, etc. This adds up to maybe 30 pages and I make about a dozen copies - for our children, my siblings, a few selected cousins, and any appropriate local historical society. So far I have made one for my dad’s side, two for my mom, and one for my husband’s mother. My health has held well and we have made several trips to Europe and the British Isles to visit the ancestral places.

    1. Wonderful idea! So glad your health has been well enough and that you were able to visit the lands of your ancestors.