Monday, December 5, 2011

Madness Monday - I knew I was behind, but this is just sad

For the past year and some, I've been going through all my old files, and trying to make sure every document I've gathered over the last 11 years is noted in my database. I've found a few censuses and letters and such that I missed, but by and large I've been pretty good about getting things entered. Or so I thought.

The last six weeks I've been working on entering the documents I've collected on my wife's family. I had a lot more than I thought, and I never thought it would take me this long. I remember getting a gedcom of her ancestry from her mom not too long after the wedding, and going through Ancestry and grabbing whatever I could find - SSDI references, census records, WWI draft registrations, etc. I filed them all away to be entered soon (at least, that was the intention). I did go back and enter some of them, as I've discovered in going through my files the last few weeks. But a lot of them never got entered - particularly the censuses for my wife's Osage Indian ancestors (probably due to the fact that the censuses were annual, so there's a lot of them).

Now, five and a half years later, I'm finally getting around to entering them. Some of the people I downloaded censuses for I no longer remember how they are connected, and I don't have any emails or notes on them. I must have heard something from my mother-in-law on them, but since I didn't write it down, and my memory of stuff I just hear is pathetically short, I don't know who these people are any more. Luckily, my MIL is just an email away, so I can ask her again and (hopefully) she can tell me what she knows about them. But if this had been info from a grandparent or other older relative that was now gone, I'd be sunk. And the worst part is, it'd be my own fault.

My main problem is when I get on a research kick, I collect documents, but don't enter and file them right away. I also don't yet have a good way of noting where exactly I found something if I don't take the time right then and there when I find it. If you have any ideas on how to organize your findings so that you remember both where you got them and to enter them sooner than five years after you collected them, I'd be very interested in hearing them.

Little side note on the Indian censuses - they don't note everyone in the household every time. My wife's great-grandfather's brother, Wakon Iron (or Wah-kon-te-ah, his Osage name) and his wife Ida had a son named Walter Iron in 1914. Walter is listed in every census after his birth that I have for the family - 1915, 1916, 1917, 1919, 1920, and others. Walter and Ida had another son named Owen Woodrow Iron in April 1918. The family of four appears in the 1920 US Federal Census, but only three of them in the 1919 and 1920 Osage census - Owen is nowhere to be found. Likewise my wife's grandfather, Douglas Red Corn, who was born 1918, doesn't show up in the 1919 or 1921 Osage censuses (his first appearance is 1924). What was the deal with leaving some babies off the census but not others? Walter made it in the census the first year after he was born, but his cousin Douglas took several years, and his little brother never did. I know very little about the Osage tribe in general, so there may be a perfectly logical explanation. Just one more thing to look up, right?


Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

I totally understand how you feel. I get on a research kick and get so excited by what I find that I get more in to the content than indicated where it was found. I did write a post a while ago about how I sort my documents. This spreadsheet, along with a really detailed digital file naming system, has really helped me. Good luck!

ironhide781 said...

I like your system, Heather, thanks for the suggestion!