Avoiding the Temptation to Gather too Quickly

New information is always good to get. The problem is that the temptation is to right out and look for more without organizing what has just been located. That can be a mistake.

In addition to images of church records from the German villages of Wohlmuthausen and Helmershausen, the researcher sent a summary of what had been located on each family including relationships and dates of birth, marriage, and death.

I really wanted to start searching for the names at various online sites and search engines to see what else could be immediately located. That’s not the best approach and I was reminded of that when I began trying to find newly discovered family members in various passenger lists. I was having absolutely no luck whatsoever. It was at that point that I decided to create a chart of all the family members and the information I thought would be helpful in my search of passenger lists.

In creating the chart, I noticed things about the families that I had not noticed when I superficially read the researcher’s report and quickly scanned the images of church records. That quick browsing of the records, while done in an attempt to locate anything earthshattering, really was not the best way to view them or the report. Real discoveries are usually made by taking a longer look.

What I really need to do is perform data entry with the new information I have located. That needs to be done before I search for more information. There are two reasons for this:

  • data entry forces me to look at the information in more detail–I can easily take research notes while performing the data entry.
  • the more information I locate, the more onerous the task will be and the less likely I am to do it–It is easier to perform the data entry while the information is fresh in my mind.

It’s also good to revisit my goals before I do any more research myself or hire any more research done. Excitement about locating new information can occasionally divert the researcher from what they were trying to locate in the first place. While tempting, that needs to be avoided.

Two different researchers may have different research goals-even with the same family. After some thought, at the present mine are:

  • extend the lineage of Erasmus Trautvetter (1761 Wildprechtrode, Germany-1841 Wohlmuthausen, Germany) back as far as possible.
  • document the descendants of Erasmus and Anna Catharina (Gross) Trautvetter ( about 1770-1823 Wohlmuthausen, Germany) through their grandchildren.

That’s enough for now.

Obtain information; organize, sort, and analyze information; re-evaluate goals–there’s a little more to it than that, but I would do well to keep those things in mind as I work on this family.



One thought on “Avoiding the Temptation to Gather too Quickly

  1. I’ve done that twice. And then had to go back and look at my scanned docs to find it again. When that one piece of mind shattering information arrives my first thought is OH BOY!! And like you I quickly go out and look for more. What I should have done is retyped it and entered it in my tree software CITED so I can find it again. Yes, she gave up parental rights and gave the kids to her brother. When? Where? Umm. Hold that thought while I look for that document.

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