Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Disorganization Can Cost You Twice

Probably the only worse feeling than that you've overpaid for something is the feeling you get when you realize you've paid twice for the same thing.  In genealogy research, this seems to happen to me more frequently than I'd care to admit.  

Disorganization in research has caused me to pay for the same court record or obituary twice many times.  Just last week, while working at the Elwood Public Library, I decided I would try to complete some task from my "To-Do" files in my Rootmagic software.  Having already taken the time to identify individuals who had lived and died in the area, I thought that I had a pretty good idea of whom I needed to obtain obituary copies from the local newspaper.  After all, they were marked as "tasks" that still needed to be completed.

As I began to search for close relatives on the list, I realized that I didn't have copies of the obituaries of my maternal great-grandmother, June (DAVIS) LAMBERTSON and my 2nd-great grandmother Pearl (BEALS) LAMBERTSON.  After obtaining the microfilm reels and finding their obituaries, I noticed that they looked strangely familiar.  I was positive that I had already obtained these obituaries, yet they still appeared on my list of things "to-do."

I double-checked my database to make sure that I hadn't already entered the information, but it wasn't there.  So I paid for the obituaries and left.  When I got back home, a double-check indicated that I did already have these obituaries - they were in a pile of papers "to be filed" that had been obtained on a previous research jaunt.  By not checking the box on my genealogy database, I had paid twice for the same information.  Fortunately, in this case, the damage was minor - only $.10 per copy.  But I know there have been other times where I have paid over $1.00 per page for something I already had because I wasn't organized.

Lesson learned: when returning from a research trip, be sure to update you research log right away so that you don't go back and try to re-invent the wheel.


Barbara Poole said...

Travis, good lesson in your post. It has probably happened to all of us, and we need to be more diligent in our record keeping. Sometimes, I think half of our research time is wasted by doing duplicate work.

Milfireguy said...

Very good lesson learned and I have also done the same thing more than I will admit. But, it is so much more fun to do the research rather than put it away!