Last week I was looking through an old family tree file that I haven't updated recently. I clicked on one of the names and realized I had a date of birth entered for that person, but I had not sourced it. I froze. Where did I get it? A birth certificate? Obituary? Marriage license?
And then it happened. The words no genealogist wants to hear, much less utter, came out of my mouth: "I don't remember."
I sat there for a few minutes, staring off into space, desperately trying to remember WHERE I had gotten that piece of information. After all, I just found this out within the last year... or two... or was it three? Oh no.
While I am usually pretty good about citing my sources and doing things properly the first time, I admit I get pretty lazy about it sometimes. Usually this happens because "I know" where the information came from and "I'll write it down later." Uh-huh. Where have I heard that before?
And so begins my journey of reorganizing all of my genealogical files, making sure to cite ALL of my sources, and properly document and keep track of everything. My husband and I bought our first home a couple of months ago and we are finally settled in enough to where I can start working on my genealogy projects again. (We even have an office! A room that is JUST for the computers, filing cabinets, bookshelves, etc.) This is the perfect time for me to go through every single file I own and organize everything.
I was lucky enough to find out where I had found the date of birth (it was from a death certificate after all), but I never want that to happen again. I may not be so lucky next time.