Chronologizing As a Research Tool
When I started in genealogy, I thought I was being organized and mindful if I saved a record I discovered to the appropriate folder with an appropriately descriptive file name. But I didn’t abstract those records as I went along. Big mistake. In certain instances, I’m still trying to dig myself out from under a landslide of such unabstracted records just sitting there unrecorded and unanalyzed.
When I begin a particular project now, I automatically start by abstracting (and citing) pertinent records as I find them and chronologizing those abstracts in my master file. I use the slightly awkward word “chronologizing” because I want to highlight the fact that it should be a conscious, active effort; not an accidental by-product.
Chronologizing has at least three significant benefits.Only NGS members have access to full articles of NGS Monthly. Please log in or click here to learn more about joining the National Genealogical Society.
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Hello Aaron, You’re probably aware that some 3,000 Palatines landed on Governor’s Island in June of 1710. Many had died before being transported up the Hudson River. Do you know where on the island these folks were buried?
Hi, Jim. I’m not aware of that mystery having been solved, and I’m afraid I haven’t any special knowledge to add.
Is there a difference between “chronologizing” and making “timelines”?
It’s mainly semantics. The point is to chronologize or make a timeline consciously and proactively, using it as a research tool as you go. Chronologies or timelines that are merely by-products of some other data entry mechanism aren’t nearly as effective.