20 January 2015

Genealogy Do Over Week 3

This week’s prompt is tracking research and conducting research. I have to be honest it is – at least the first half – that I am having a hard time with this week. Over the years I have tracked things in my own sort of way and going through with this Do Over, I am trying to coordinate things and use one system. 

I wish I could honestly write that I always use a form to track my research but I do not. I recognize that it would be helpful and practical. However I have my own way of tracking and keeping notes. (see image of Research Notes for John Kurenda, my great grandfather at right).  Notice the headers: Cause of Death, Health, Employment, Immigration and Marriage Note. Normally I also have a Residence Note as well. I use the same headers for everyone, as applicable.  

From the beginning (like for the last 30 years), I started saving anything that had the same surname – one advantage of having unique surnames. I also now do the same with electronic folders. From time to time I go through them to see if I can place someone into the family I already have confirmed. Yes, I probably need a better tracking system. I would like the self discipline to keep track as I go instead of this back peddling that I feel like I am doing now.  

Conducting research however is much easier. 

It begins with goals. Each year I set down specific goals for the upcoming year. This year one of my goals is “Find and confirm remaining 2x great grandparents – mother of Frances Skrabalak.” Another is “Hruszczak, Matys, Kurenda & Skrabalak lines – Research what it was like when Daddy’s family immigrated and what Prusy, Austria and Sambor was like in the 1904 – 1913 range.”  

Where to go from here:
I think at this point, I need to step back and document what I have found and what information (like the mother’s name) I still need to find. Often when I get stuck like this, I find a timetable helps. The one seen here below is simply an Excel spreadsheet. 

Tracing Frances Skrabalak’s steps from the moment she got off the boat in New York in 1907 at the age of 23 to her marriage the next year to John Kurenda is my next step. That marriage begs more questions than it answers. How did she come to know him? Was it an arranged marriage? How did she get from New York to Berks County, PA? Then how did they get from Berks County to Chester County? Why the move or did they just marry there? 

Next week:
Next week’s topics are managing projects and tasks; and tracking searches. 

Genealogy Do-Over is a 13 week challenge from Thomas MacEntee, of GeneaBloggers.  
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.