Genealogy Go-Over: Getting Started


The series of posts I will be writing is based on the Genealogy Do-Over Workbook by Thomas MacEntee. I highly recommend it. 🙂

Okay, so the best way to get through things is to just jump right into them. I’ve learned that about myself over the years. Starting on Thursday of last week, I started getting things ready for my Genealogy Go-Over. The first section of the Do-Over/Go-Over is to clear your slate. I know myself, which means I’m going to have some problems keeping my fingers out of the cookie jar. My intention isn’t to start completely over from scratch. What I do want to do is revisit my current family file person by person. One of the big things that I wanted to happen in my Family File Cleanup was I wanted a good sync between my DNA Family Tree, my computer database and my website database. I don’t want to have one thing in one, and have to use another for something else.

Since I will only be going over what I have, I do want to have access to my old files. I just don’t want to jump in and do 8,000 things at once. To help myself with this, I took all my paper documents which I have in acid-free page protectors and I put them in 3 ring binders that I have here. Eventually, when the time is right, I will be analyzing each of those documents. I will be getting rid of some. Anything that comes from a state repository will be staying (basically that I paid for). To help myself not get lost in the documents, I have made myself an index using Google Sheets. This way, I can easily access the list of paper documents that I have.

Binder Index in Google Sheets

I know that I could have spent hours deciding how to index this and what to put on it. That’s just how I am. Instead I went with being short and sweet. I have the focus of the record, the type of document, and whether it is scanned or not. I didn’t allow myself to even check my digital files for scans. If I knew off the top of my head it was scanned, it got a yes, otherwise it got a no. I have separate tabs for each binder. It will be very easy for me to just glance at this and get to what I need to find. The documents are in the order that the list is in, so I shouldn’t have to flip back and forth looking for anything. It’s already saved me a lot of time just when I was doing my Timeline post for William Harmon Mays.

The next big thing that I have to take into account is my digital files. When I went through my previous cleanup, I set up a numbering and organizational system that works for me. I am still trying to decide if I’m going to keep it that way, or re-organize it some other way. I don’t have to think about that yet though. Right now I’m just clearing my slate so I can breathe again. That means I did a thing.

My Genealogy DriveThis is the current state of my Genealogy Drive. I’m not going to lie to you, I still panic a bit when I look at it. I tell myself that I can still use my old organization if I want to. That thought is what pushed me into going ahead and moving everything into the Hold Over folder. In fact, I might even move the Hold Over folder to my Media Drive so that I can’t be tempted too much to go wandering in there. The only thing in my Family Files folder is my current working Legacy file. The Office Files only holds one file currently. It’s my new Genealogy Task Tracker.

There will be a few resources I will be using as I go through this process. I will be working through Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas Jones before I get back into researching. I will also be trying out Evidentia for the first time during this process. It is a lot, but I think if I take my time and go through it slowly, I will be setting myself up for success in the future.

The last thing I’m going to share today is that I’ve made a new e-mail address just for genealogy! In a perfect world, I would use my email. However, it’s always been temperamental. So instead I am now using I had every intention of trying to ditch the leeny part of my e-mail. I thought maybe I should have a more grown-up sounding e-mail once and for all. It was almost impossible to find one that wasn’t already in use and I’m not a fan of adding a million numbers into an e-mail.


So that’s where we stand as of today, I’m still working on the next part of Month 1 in the workbook. I will tell you more about that next Wednesday! 🙂

Other posts in this series:

  1. Genealogy Do-Over or Go-Over?
  2. Genealogy Go-Over: Getting Started <- You are here.
  3. Genealogy Go-Over: Setting Guidelines
  4. Genealogy Go-Over: Actually Do-Over
  5. Genealogy Do-Over: Where I’m At
  6. Genealogy Do-Over: More Decisions
  7. Genealogy Do-Over: More Prep Work
  8. Genealogy Do-Over: My Research Toolbox

Source List:

Thomas MacEntee, The Genealogy Do-Over Workbook (Kindle Edition); GeneaBloggers ( : downloaded 31 December 2015), Month 1.

4 thoughts on “Genealogy Go-Over: Getting Started

  1. ka7suz says:

    Absolutely, you must start with an index of your documents. As simply as 1 through whatever, or (and I have no vested interest) – William Dollarhide’s ‘Managing a Genealogical Project” system – I based my system on Dollarhide’s, but for the way I am wired. LOL Not only do you need to record where you found the evidence (courthouse, cemetery, Family Bible), but how to quickly find it again in your files. I have also created a ‘tag’ called “Family Tradition” for those hearsay memories within the family. This, of course, is different from “personal knowledge”.

    The main thing is to pick every bit of information from every document. No matter how trivial it seems, it could be the key to open the gate in that brick wall later on.


    • Kathleen says:

      Your comments are always so helpful JoAnn! I have added his book to my Amazon list for later. I am still thinking about my organizational system and I think I am going to be changing it. When I used Evidentia for the first time, I really saw how having all the records for one person, in one place could help.

      I’m glad you reminded me to make sure I write down the exact source of each document. I do have a source created called, Llewellyn’s Boxes, with a brief description of what that is, but I really need to create one for the hearsay memories too!


  2. John Sparrow says:

    I’m glad to see that your operating system and program files are on a separate drive. So many stay with the Windows system of having their Documents etc in their C: drive.

    • Kathleen says:


      My computer has four hard drive slots. I am only using three of them right now but I have plenty of room between them all. I have very few personal files on my C drive. They aren’t important ones if they are.


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