Video and Show Notes

We all need reminders now and then to work smart and stay focused. This week we’re going to revisit two early episodes of Elevenses with Lisa that will help you do just that. I’m bringing them out from behind the Premium Membership paywall and making them available for free this week. We’ll cover concrete strategies for staying focused on what matters most, while not losing track of opportunities that present themselves. You’ll also learn about free tech tools that you can put in place to give you peace of mind, take back those lost hours, and help you be more productive. 
 
These will be presented back-to-back as Live Video Premieres on my Genealogy Gems YouTube channel. In part 1 we’ll cover what makes us vulnerable to getting distracted, and how a research plan can help. In part 2 we’ll talk about how to deal with BSOs (bright shiny objects!)

Watch Live: Thursday, August 26, 2021 at 11:00 am CT 
(calculate your time zone

Three ways to watch:
1. Video Player (Live) – Watch live at the appointed time in the video player above.
2. Participate in the live chat by watching on YouTube (Live) – Click the Watch on YouTube button to watch live at the appointed time at the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel. Log into YouTube with your free Google account to participate in the live chat. 
3. Video Player above (Replay) – Available immediately after the live premiere and chat. 

How Alice the Genealogist Avoids the Rabbit Hole Part 1

Don’t let unexpected genealogical finds send you down a rabbit hole any longer. We’ll cover concrete strategies for staying focused on what matters most, while not losing track of opportunities that present themselves. You’ll also learn about free tech tools that you can put in place to give you peace of mind, take back those lost hours, and help you be more productive.

Vulnerability to Rabbit Holes

In order to improve in anything, you have to know your vulnerabilities. When it comes to falling down a genealogical rabbit hole I’ve identified 5 of the most common vulnerabilities:

  1. Not having a crystal-clear research question
  2. Not having your next steps mapped out
  3. Not having a specific method for dealing with BSOs (bright shiny objects)
  4. Not implementing that method consistently
  5. No muscle to stick with your plan

We’re going to tackle 1, 2, and 3 above. With these in place I believe you’ll feel confident and take care of 4 & 5!

1. Write a Research Question

Before beginning your research, take a moment to write out your research question or statement. It will help guide you and keep you on task.

Think about what you want to specifically accomplish. State your goal in specific terms:

“Identify the village in Germany where Louise Nikolowski and her family were from so I can locate church records.”

Effective Research Questions

(Per the Board of Certification of Genealogists)

Genealogy Standards #10:

Questions underlying research plans concern aspects of identity, relationship, events, and situations. The questions are sufficiently broad to be answerable with evidence from relevant places and times. They are sufficiently focused to yield answers that may be tested and shown to meet or not meet the Genealogical Proof Standard.”

Genealogical-research questions:

  • clearly describe a unique person, group, or event as the focus of the question
  • clearly state what kind of information that you’re hoping to discover, such as an identity, relationship, event, or biographical detail.

Keep this research question in front of you by:

  • printing it out and setting it in front of your monitor
  • putting it on a “sticky” note on your computer’s desktop (virtually or physically!)
  • writing it at the top of your physical or virtual notebook.

2. Map Your Next Moves

Break your primary research question down into smaller, individual research questions.

According to Elizabeth Shown Mills, after analyzing the existing data:

“we prepare a research plan that defines:

  1. the resources to be explored
  2. the strategies to be applied
  3. the individuals who are to be included in that search
  4. any special circumstances that will affect the project.”

Example Question: Where is the birthplace of Gustav Sporowski (father of Alfreda) who resided in Gillespie, Illinois in 1910-1918?

Actionable Steps

Here are examples of questions to be answered that support the research question:

Question 1 – Did he apply for citizenship? If so, what is listed?
Question 2 – Find passenger list: what place of origin is listed?
Question 3 – What was listed for other passengers accompanying him? (If any)
Question 4 – Where are other Sporowskis from that are listed in passenger lists?

For each question above, make a list of the resources (records) you need to find to answer these questions, and where you plan to look for them. Track the outcome.

 “we prepare a research plan that defines:

  1. the resources to be explored
  2. the strategies to be applied
  3. the individuals who are to be included in that search
  4. any special circumstances that will affect the project.”

 

Part 2 Video and Show Notes

Don’t let unexpected genealogical finds send you down a rabbit hole any longer. In this episode I cover concrete strategies for staying focused on what matters most, while not losing track of opportunities that present themselves. You’ll also learn about free tech tools that you can put in place to give you peace of mind, take back those lost hours, and help you be more productive.

Identify BSOs (Bright Shiny Objects)

You can’t avoid danger (to your current research plan) if you don’t know what it looks like! My test will help you determine if what has caught your eye while researching online is a BSO.

how to identify a bso

How Alice identifies a BSO

Take the BSO Test:

  1. Does this get me closer to answering my research question?
  2. On a scale of 1 – 10 how potentially critical is this to my research?
  3. Am I willing to give up finding the answer to my research question to pursue this?

Once you’ve identified BSOs, it’s time to implement a process for dealing with them so you can stay focused on our research question, as well as return to the BSO to explore its potential.

5 Ways to Capture & Return to BSOs

1. Use a Cloud Note-taking Service

Get yourself a free Cloud note-taking tool (Evernote, OneNote, Google Docs, etc.) and use it consistently. Use the website, software, and/or app to capture unexpected finds while researching.

I happen to use Evernote. If you’re new to Evernote, here’s a quick video that will help explain it to you.

Here’s an example of how I use Evernote to capture BSOs:

  • Create a tag in Evernote called BSO.
  • Each time you come across something that tempts you to deviate from your current focus, clip it and tag it with the BSO tag. This will allow you to move on with your research plan with confidence, knowing that it will be easy to locate and pursue the BSO later.
  • Add additional tags if desired to help you remember what it was about or why it interested you, such as a surname tag.
  • Evernote notes can have multiple tags, so use them.
  • Annotate the note to provide additional information as to why the BSO caught your eye, and what you plan to follow up on later.
  • Evernote will attach a link to the page where you clipped the item to the note. This means with one click you can return to the original source. 
Notes tagged in Evernote

Notes tagged in Evernote

The benefit of using a Cloud-based note-taking tool is that your notes will be available to you on all your devices (depending on whether you have a free or subscription plan.) You can add additional information to your notes, and work with them anytime, anywhere.

Use Snagit to do Your Screen Clipping

You can also use Snagit to do your screen clipping and annotations. Automatically send the completed image to Evernote via the Share feature, or Copy and Paste it into a new note.

Learn more about this powerful screen clipping tool:
Elevenses with Lisa episode 61– How to use Snagit for genealogy
Elevenses with Lisa episode 67 – Advance clipping techniques with Snagit

Use coupon code: GENEALOGY15 to save 15% on Snagit. Thank you for using my link for purchasing your copy of Snagit. (We will be compensated at no additional cost to you, which makes the free Elevenses with Lisa show and notes possible.) Don’t worry if it initially shows as Euros in the cart. When you enter your address including country, it will convert the currency appropriately.

snagit for genealogy

Save 15 % with my exclusive discount code.

2. Schedule BSO Time

One of the main reasons we get side-tracked by BSOs while working online is that we are afraid if we don’t look at it right now we’ll lost it or never go back to it. By scheduling time  specifically for working on tagged BSOs, you will feel more confident about letting them go while you are working on a research plan.

I schedule my time in the free Google calendar. You can have several different calendars (i.e. categories of types of things you schedule.) Create a “BSO” calendar and color code it so it’s easy to spot. Schedule BSO time and follow up items as future events on your calendar. Set Notifications and Email Reminders for each item.

Schedule your BSO time

Create a “BSO” calendar

Scheduling BSO times means you can mentally let them go for now! 

Resources

Show Notes PDF – click here to download the show notes PDF for this episode. (Premium Membership log in required.) 

Genealogy Gems Premium Membership

Click to learn more about Genealogy Gems Premium Membership.

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