And, what direction should my future efforts take?
An excellent post, "Organizing Those Documents and Photos" by Lorine McGinnis Schultze at Olive Tree Genealogy Blog, and some wonderful comments, particularly one by The Grandmother Here, really got me to thinking.
I started to add a comment, but realized two things. I needed to mull over the ideas first, and what I wanted to say might not fit in that little comment box.
I had just finished a three-month project organizing my research notes (see I've GOT to get organized -- DONE!). Yes, my notes are now in order. If I need to find one, I think my chances are pretty good at being successful.
I didn't voice it, but in the beginning I thought if I organized my notes some repository, some place, some day would perhaps not want them, but take them. Three months later, after looking at every single page -- from 45-year-old hand-scrawled notes to recent printouts of online digital records -- I don't think that any more.
Other than the few one-of-a-kind "family archive" records, a good genealogist should be able to take my sources to a computer or a good library and reproduce them.
Think about the transcripts of census records taken from scratched-up microfilm before the days of online digital records. Would you trust those? Wouldn't you go to the source and look at the original, a better original than I looked at 30 years ago?
Naw! When I'm done with them, these file drawers are full of dumpster fodder. And when I'm done with them will be when I quit doing genealogy (read that senile or dead).
So I'm back to what Lorine is pondering, finding a way "To ensure that my research into my ancestry is passed on." I am not going to throw away 45 years (and counting) of work.
So what's the answer?
Lorine's current plan is binders for her ancestral lines only. She has children and grandchildren to pass them to.
I have two wonderful children who have, to date, only shown mild interest in their ancestry. That's probably my fault in not working to develop that interest. I only have two step grandchildren, wonderful young people, but they have their own ancestry and it's not mine.
There are always options.
The first I've been doing for several years -- a web page -- http://www.jimgill.net. But personal web pages are not permanent. When I go, it will go.
Online tree services. But how permanent are they?
I really like the look and feel of WeRelate, but I wonder if it will survive. I only have time to do this once.
I've recently been granted access to new.familysearch.org but haven't had the time to do more than read Randy Seaver's posts on Genea-Musings and experiment. Data-wise, I suspect it's about as permanent as any could be, but there are problems. For me those problems include no pictures, limited sources and wading through the morass of unsourced documents. In all fairness, my first post connected me with a cousin I didn't know I had.
So what's the answer?
For me, I think it will be paper -- not that I won't upload my whole RootsMagic database some day. RM has created a very nice interface to new.familysearch making it, I suspect, about as easy as it can get.
I'm not sure how I'm going to do it yet, but I will be investigating what I can do with RootsMagic and my recently upgraded version of Serif PagePlus X5. Between the two of them I should be able to produce pages of genealogy and pages of pictures that can be printed in multiple copies for family and interested libraries.
I will keep you posted on my progress.
As a final note, I was delighted to read the comment by The Grandmother Here who wrote, "The joy is in the journey. Searching and finding is what I enjoy."
Yes!!! So do I!
Maybe that's why I have so many green folders in my file drawers -- sources I've found but never entered into my RootsMagic.
Without doubt, I'd rather be searching any day.
Although . . . I've got to get that information into RootsMagic. I can't go online with it or to paper if I don't.