How I write my 52 Ancestors posts in 4 easy lessons (2)

Schalene Jennings Dagutis of Tangled Roots and Trees and I made a deal. I would write about how I keep everyone straight while writing my 52 Ancestors post and she would tell me how to find a book on the minutes of the annual conferences of the Methodist church. I found the book on my own but I’m sticking to the deal.

Part 2 – Gathering my eggs

Once upon a time, I worked for an American bank’s branch office in Luxembourg. First in the back office and later as a credit analyst. The skills I developed while working there have benefited my genealogy research. Organization had top priority, always. Much time was spent filing “things” as soon as they hit the desk. I did a lot of copying and pasting – before we had computers. Although I enjoyed the work, I no longer want to keep paper files unless absolutely necessary. The discipline I learned helps me keep my digital genealogy research organized.

Before I begin to write I gather all my eggs in one basket! This means being sure that everything that has been researched has been inputted into my genealogy software, Ancestral Quest 14. Legacy, Family Tree Maker, and Rootsmagic have similar features. I’ve used AQ for over 10 years and am very happy with what I can do with it and what it can do for me.

Family view on AncestralQuest 14

I check the ancestor’s parents and siblings for any missing information. Then I do the same for his wife/her husband and children. I want all events covered for the three generations before I can go on to the next step. I have to admit that I do not use the full potential of AQ when it comes to Events as I have favored the Notes section (below) for census listings, etc. for many years. [I’m working on this!]

Notes window in AncestralQuest 14.

I then generate a timeline which includes parents, siblings, and children with their events; notes* for the main individual, notes for marriage, and sources. The genealogy software will allow you to choose how much or how little you want included in the timeline.
*I’ve always kept notes for all individuals in my database are in chronological order – similar to a story line.

Timeline view on AncestralQuest 14

AQ14 gives me a choice between a pdf or a text file. I copy the entire text of the pdf and insert it into my blogpost. The notes, which are at the end of the timeline, are then moved up into the right time period on the timeline. Sources can stay at the bottom for the time being. [Did I mention that I used to do a lot of copying and pasting?]

Part 1 – Preparation
Part 2 – Gathering my eggs
Part 3 – It’s time to write
Part 4 – Pulling it together

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey


Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

When I’m not doing genealogy and blogging, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful Luxembourg countryside.

6 thoughts on “How I write my 52 Ancestors posts in 4 easy lessons (2)”

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your way of working! I’m afraid, my genea-program does not allow creating timelines. I do so on a piece of paper and save documents on my PC. But of course it is MUCH better to have everything collected in a program, makes live much easier. Doesn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have Family tree maker which is synced to my trees on automatically update, whichis wonderful! The thing is , I really onlyuse them for back-up, so I don’t know much about it! I do use it occasionally. I don’t trust the internet enough to go paperless, I wish I did. I have notebooks and piles/tubs of paper everywhere! Someone will throu them out one day I kow! I’ve been trying for awhile now to put documents and pictures inhe tree as well as keep a hard copy! You are so detail oriented, that’s great for this work. Great job! Helen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t keep things together without my genealogy software. I still don’t get the full potential out of it. I have hundreds of census and vital records on my PC (I have a good system for filing them) but I want to add the images as sources in my tree and have them cited correctly. Still learning. When I add these I want to extract as much information as possible and add to the events. Once I get started it should be easy — I’ve already done it for the French records I have on one branch of the family.


  3. Thanks for sharing your method. It is interesting to see how you put it all together. Writing a blog post about an ancestor has helped me to see the “holes” I may have in their lives that I didn’t see before. That’s the good and the bad—-sometimes what was suppose to be a simple little blog post becomes a major research endeavor…..and that’s ok, except when you have a deadline (even though that deadline is somewhat self imposed.)


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