January 8, 2016

Maybe I am doing a "Do over!"

Some readers might wonder who I am. I often wonder that myself!

What follows is an effort to reveal to anyone interested a little about what motivates and inspires me, genealogy-wise.

So far, I have had no inspiration at all to begin a new year of blogging!  It just seems a tad futile. It's been ten years or so since I wrote the first blog and nothing new to write about pops into my head now,  I am not one to offer advice on how to do research, where to look, who to ask for advice, etc.  I leave that to those that seek to earn money in the field.  I began as a family researcher and that's all I want to be known as.  I am not a "certified" professional genealogist but like to think I am professional in my work.

Some might wonder about that last comment after reading a few of my blogs.

Sometimes I use Twitter to sound off to politicians and express my conservative thoughts.  I sometimes like to post links to historical or scientific items I find on the web and think others might be interested in.  Mostly however, I use it to follow some of the professional researchers who reside there.  I often read their blogs but hardly ever re-tweet any, primarily because they never share any of mine.

My research ability comes first from my military job then my civilian job.  I just adapted that training to searching for genealogy records.  I believe I have become a fairly good genealogist by relying heavily on librarians and more experienced court house researchers and patient clerks of court that I have met over the years.  I also owe a debt of gratitude to other Coffey researchers who were at this long before I was and who have generously offered their family research to my Edward Coffey Project.

Because I am more or less a one-name researcher, I have not joined any local societies.  Although eligible, I have not ever applied for membership in any lineage society except for the "Alamo Defenders Descendants Association" (ADDA).  My great-grandmother Mary Elizabeth Bowman Coffee was a grand-daughter of Jesse Bowman who fell at the Alamo in 1836.  One of my grandsons has also become a member and his younger brother anticipates that he will also become a member.

I have spent years traveling to state archives, state libraries, county court houses, etc. Now however, my age and physical condition makes me a stay-at- home researcher.  I love doing on-line research using old newspapers and sites like HeritageQuest, FamilySearch.org and Mocavo. 

After being an Ancestry subscriber from their early beginnings, I recently terminated my relationship with them.  I think anyone who has been a subscriber or, is using that service today will probably understand why.

I am always thrilled and delighted to find original documents on FamilySearch and family news articles on GenealogyBank.

Some while ago, several of the blogs that I follow began to talk about a genealogy "do over." I was not inspired by those until I recently began to dig into my nearly 30 years of work and realized that a lot was missing! So, I began to think that do over thing was not as silly or unnecessary as I first thought.

A new resolution for 2016 is to venture into my files and update all of the sources and citations. As of today, The Edward Coffey Project* contains 42,126 people, 14,008 families, 2,065 sources and 49,452 citations.  I actually began the task before the new year rang in and have worked my way through Coffeys up to those individuals whose first names begins with the letter S. That means a thousand or more females named Sarah. There are plenty of every name to blur the vision as I work through them on a daily basis.  Off and on, I spend three to four hours every day working on the project.

After updating the sources and writing more meaningful citations I will begin searching for marriage records that were not on FamilySearch the first time I looked. I have stopped looking for new post-1940 family descendants, but so far this year I have added a few pre-1940 individuals that I had not found earlier.

These updates might take more than a year but, my ultimate plan is to publish a book; not necessarily in print.  I am considering publishing in PDF and distributing it on a high capacity flash drive.  That way I can save myself money by not printing it on paper and I can save money for buyers by charging only a very nominal fee. Users will be able to print the book should they have the need. 

Thanks for reading and I would like to see more reader comments in 2016.

*This might be more properly titled "The John Coffey Project."  John was Edward's oldest son and although his other children are represented in The Project, John is the better known and more researched of those children.  Today's version of The Project is not the version that I offer at the link. I do not plan to offer any updated version until my current "clean-up" work is completed.

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