At the beginning of the pandemic, I thought, as we all moved to remote work, that I would fill the time I previously spent commuting writing in my blog about research questions, challenges and those eureka! moments that inevitably occur. However, nest laid plans and all that, this obviously didn’t happen. Instead over three years have gone by in the flash of an eye. What did I spend my new-found hour+ each day doing? Well, research, of course.
Since all these years later, I am still finding information, it shouldn’t have been a surprise to me that yesterday when I was doing some edits on a book on which I’m working (Stories They never Told Us) that some details I originally wrote about were no longer correct, and I had to modify all the references to a particular event. The event and the details aren’t important (well, they are, but not in the context of this blog post). What is important are all those little notes we make while we’re doing the research. The notes are great, but not if we don’t go back and review and revise them periodically.
For those of us who maintain a research journal documenting our findings, including those ever-important citations and an analysis of the findings, notes are an important part of the process. These notes aid in reminding us of the questions we had, either about the new-found record, or where the record might be guiding us next. If later on, in subsequent research, we answer the question or find something that makes the note irrelevant, deleting or revising the note might ultimately prove to be important, especially if you plan to write about the research. The journal is a useful guide for writing an analysis or summation of what you did, where you looked, and why you investigated in a particular direction.
During the COVID time, I did a lot of Zoom virtual talks – I’m still doing those! Notes in journals and on my tree assist in preparation of the talks. The lack of a commute has also afforded me the luxury of listening to talks which thankfully are still being live-streamed. The biggest challenge are time-zone differences and trying to figure out how to be at 3 presentations at the same time, on the same day!
Right now, I’m preparing for talks at the Utah JGS (May 15), the JGS of Great Britain (May 23), Foundation for East European Family History Studies (FEEFHS), and the International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies (IAJGS).
A challenge to think about – although conflicting information pops up all the time in genealogical research – when is it ok to ignore a conflict and when does it really need to be researched further to be resolved?