They say you must look back to see forward. I haven’t always believed in this philosophy, but I can see I’ll be following it in the coming months.
My project for January is to go back through five years of Roots to the Past columns, pick the best 175 and revise them to create a book. It’s a time consuming task, one that will reveal what I’ve done and what I haven’t done.
One reason I chose to create a book from my columns is because I receive many requests from regular readers and those new to genealogy for past columns. Sometimes, they wonder if I have written on a specific subject, and if so could they read it. Others write to say they’ve clipped an informative column to save for later. If they’re anything like me, they’ve put it away and now can’t find it.
Newspapers are here for a day, perhaps a week, but books are more permanent. Although it is possible to find many of my columns in online databases, I understand not everyone has the time to search out the ones they want to read. Also, not everyone is Internet connected or wishes to be so.
Many individuals are like me; they can read short sections of text on a computer screen, but enjoy their reading experience more on paper. I can’t think of a better way to satisfy these genealogists than by providing access to dozens of columns in one place.
One thing I can do with the book that I can’t with old columns is add updated information. I’ve learned a lot since my debut. This gives me the opportunity to share some of this experience.
I compare this book project with one I did a few years ago with my genealogy data. For years, I researched in every spare moment. I did my best to organize it, so I could easily find information and clearly see what was missing. However, life often got in the way. If I didn’t have time to properly enter the information, I dropped it into a file. In the worse cases, I put it on a pile on my desk that continued to grow, but not get sorted.
There came a point when someone would ask me about an individual and I had no idea how complete my information was on them. It took months to sort through the scraps of paper, photocopies and email messages, but finally, for once, the family tree was as complete as I could make it. In a glance, I knew what I had and what I didn’t have on everyone.
January, with its cold winter winds and slippery roads, is the perfect time to stay in and tackle these types of time-consuming projects. Before you know it, the crocuses will be popping their heads up through the frost and you’ll have the most up-to-date family tree in your neighbourhood.
Diane Lynn Tibert is giving readers a free Ebook for the entire month of January. Visit Smashwords (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/33448) and download “Mystery Light in Cranberry Cove” by Candy McMudd using the coupon code: JN53K.