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Today I followed through on two of the tasks I posted about yesterday — starting a new Legacy database and creating a formal research log for the Kishinevsky family line in Excel.

Once the research log (derived from a template I already use for my clients) was done, I started to populate it. Item #1 – my name and birthdate. I sourced the entry with data from my newly scanned birth certificate. I transcribed the entire birth certificate and evaluated the quality of the data (marginal, since the certificate had been folded and unfolded so often it fell apart, and had been taped back together, obscuring some of the pre-printed information).Then I created a source citation using the QuickCheck Model for Local Records on page 425 of Evidence Explained. After that, I hopped over to Legacy, and entered my name, and that of my husband, father, and mother into my new database. Once my minimal data were in, I added the source citation for my birth certificate using the Legacy SourceWriter. I have taken a number of workshops relating to source citations in Legacy over the years, so I had no trouble with the process. Well, except for the fact that the whole thing took two hours. Doing genealogy this way is certainly more time consuming than the slapdash way I started with 25 years ago.

Certificate of Birth, Jane Neff

Certificate of Birth, Jane Neff

The object of the GDO process is to look at each document as if we’ve never seen it before, so I tried to look at it with beginners’ eyes. I have already noted several pieces of data from the birth certificate that I had never absorbed before, although I’ve had it in my possession for decades.

Firstly, it includes the address where my parents lived when I was born. Now, I’ve heard the story about that 5th floor walk-up in Chicago with the bathroom down the hall shared by all the tenants many times over the years. But I never knew where it was. Now, I will make a note on my to-do list to locate a Sanborn Fire Insurance map so I can pinpoint the location, the construction materials used to make the building, and what landmarks were nearby at the time the map was made — many of which are, no doubt, long gone. I will also locate it on a modern map, and one day will make a Google Earth presentation and include that apartment as well.

Secondly, seeing the name of the obstetrician who delivered me, Joseph Teton, reminded me of the story my mom told me of the day I was born. My dad was an intern at Henrotin Hospital at the time, and he almost delivered me, because the doctor was late. Remember, this is long before fathers were even allowed in the delivery room for the births of their children.

After that, I logged my dad’s delayed birth certificate, and sourced it in Legacy. Lastly, I scanned my marriage certificate, and used the same steps on the data from it.

I’m exhausted! And intimidated by the thought of logging and sourcing the hundreds (maybe thousands) of documents that pertain to my father, mother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins that I have collected over the last 25 years. But it’s not a race, and I’ll do what I can, as I can.

It feels strange to do this as baby steps, as if I know nothing about my family history. But I can already perceive the benefit of the exercise.

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