Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Tuesday's Tips~Getting By with Help from Our Friends-Diana Elder

 This edition of Tuesday's Tips comes from our friend Diana Elder of Family Locket. Diana shares her tips on creating an objective to help focus our research.

3 Tips to Focus Your Research with an Objective
Have you ever been sucked into the whirlpool of internet record searches and after an hour or two surfaced wondering where you’ve been and what you’ve accomplished?  It is so easy to get distracted by all the goodies that are available online: census records, birth certificates, cemetery records, and so much more.  How can you put some order into your research?  Try formulating an objective and watch your efforts come into focus.
An objective is simply a statement of what you want to accomplish. It can direct your research for an hour of web searching or it can keep you focused on a major project.  An objective will help you feel proactive with your family history efforts and even when you don’t find a record, you will feel successful.
Writing an objective is the first step in keeping a research log. Besides grounding a research log, a research objective can also guide you through a more involved project There are numerous goals we have as family historians and thinking through an objective and writing it down can help us achieve our goals.  Here are some tips to help you fine tune your research.
Tip # 1    Craft your objective with the end in mind
Decide what you really want to accomplish.  What is the end result of your research going to be?  Maybe you’re writing a family history or a blog post.  You could be working on a project for accreditation or certification. Perhaps you’re working on a brick wall research problem. Think carefully about the research project you want to tackle.
 Tip #2    Break up large objectives into smaller pieces
A large objective like writing a four generation report on your family would need to be broken up into several small, doable objectives, such as “Discover the military service of John Smith, born 1774 in Caroline County, Virginia and died 1804 in Green County, Georgia.
In crafting a research objective, consider whether you’d like to identify a person, discover a relationship, or find event information. Once you’ve decided what the focus of the research project will be, create an objective using key identifiers such as the full name, birth, and death dates and places, or marriage information.
After your objective is written, view it from the perspective of someone who doesn’t know your family. Could they perform acceptable research from the details you included? No need to include all background information on the research question in the objective, just the basics.
Tip # 3  Record your objective
What’s the use of crafting a useful objective if you can’t refer to it, again and again, to keep you on track?  Put it at the top of your research log or research notebook page.  Include it in the opening paragraph of your family history or research report.  Type it out and put it on your wall for the book you’re writing. As you’re researching, stick to your objective and resist the temptation to hop websites.      
Creating an objective is the first step in the “Research Like a Pro” process. The next steps are:
– Review your research with new eyes by creating your own timeline analysis.
– Construct a locality guide to direct your research.
– Create a plan to keep your research on track.
– Style source citations, giving your work credibility.
– Set up a research log to organize and track your searches.
– Write a report detailing your findings and ideas for future research.
Interested in knowing more? Check out several more blog posts on the subject at FamilyLocket.com.


Diana Elder AG® is a professional genealogist, author, and speaker. She is accredited in the Gulf South region of the United States through the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen). Diana graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Elementary Education and has turned her passion for teaching to educating teens and adults in proven genealogy techniques. Diana is the author of Research Like a Pro: A Genealogists Guide and creator of the “Research Like a Pro” study group. She writes regular articles for FamilyLocket.com, the genealogy website created by her daughter, Nicole Dyer. She presents regularly at genealogy conferences, sharing the methods she uses every day to solve challenging genealogical problems.

Thanks so much, Diana, for your great tips on creating an objective to help us stay focused!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Helping you climb your family tree,

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