The 6x6 Challenge

Over the summer, our family computer gave up the ghost. We took it to a friend for a post-mortem – as it turns out, the motherboard was fried and would be prohibitively costly to replace (it was an all-in-one unit, convenient but difficult to tinker with). He was able to extract our files from the hard drive though, which was a blessing, since our backups are not as frequent as they should be.

On that hard drive, amongst family photos and random documents, resides the majority of my digital genealogy files. We haven’t yet gotten our files back (major family issues on our friend’s part = us not pressing a relatively minor issue), and while I do have some older backups on an external hard drive, said drive has been MIA since our cross-town move back in May.

Thankfully I still have three boxes of paper files, as well as some off-site storage. I am viewing this temporary misplacement of data as an opportunity to rebuild my genealogy database from the ground up, with a particular emphasis on citing information as properly as I can muster. It’s a daunting task, though, and I will need a solid plan to maintain momentum as I go.

Enter my 6x6 Genealogy Challenge for 2015. My plan is to focus on a single person in the first six generations of my family tree each week of the year (starting December 29th, ‘cause it works better to start on a Monday).

Starting with my children, I want to take a single event each day, enter it in to my genealogy software (Legacy Family Tree is my personal choice), document it properly, and ensure that I have a paper copy in my files.

Here’s how it will look:

  • Monday – Birth
  • Tuesday – Death
  • Wednesday – Marriage
  • Thursday – Children (at least names; ideally, birth and death dates as well)
  • Friday – Census records and/or photographs
  • Saturday – Work/Military History

Sundays will be my file backup days. I still need to figure out the best way to go about that.

For each day’s item, I want to perform six tasks (six tasks on each of six days per week, hence the 6x6 Challenge), namely:

  1. Confirm date of event
  2. Confirm location of event
  3. Locate proof of event
  4. Craft a proper citation for the proof document
  5. Enter the information and citation into my software
  6. File a paper copy in my hanging folders

It seems to me simultaneously ambitious and manageable; time will tell which side wins out. For now, though, this seems to me the best way to rebuild my database and ensure quality at the same time.

Have you ever had to rebuild your files after a disaster or an equipment failure? What methods do you use to ensure that your information is backed up?

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