Friday, December 28, 2012

Defining a Problem in a Project

Defining a Problem in a Project

Chances are good that before you start to define and organize data and stories for your project based genealogy, you will find that you have more than one problem. (Well, genealogy is about problems, right?)

So, to prove my point, I will show you where, just this past week, two of the projects that I listed miraculously looked connected together! Can't you just hear me exclaim , "I KNEW IT!" as I do the genealogy dance in my office?

I was working on The Stone Dresser's Wife project because I am going to need help from Jo Graham to help me find out who Alexander Aiken's wife, Ann Robertson Milne Cruickshank, parents were. I am not sure that what is listed on her death record is correct. 

I wanted to work on how many children they had and to make sure I had them in the correct birth order. I didn't think it would be a challenge because I already had another researcher contact me about a child that was not my ancestor so one child was in the right place.

Well, I came upon a child named James Aiken. Hmmm, I thought. Is it possible that James is any relation to a Mr. Aitken that was business partner and friend of my maternal (not paternal) grandfather?

Just last June, I wondered about this relationship while working on Mr. Aitken's gravestone. (Review this blog post) Could it be that my father didn't know that he really was a cousin to his mother? I directly asked my Dad and he said no because the name was spelled differently. I admit my "cousin" sensor was up even then, when I was in my twenties. I just couldn't put it out of my head. Could adding a T to a name make it a different family?

I decided to find out and as it goes, one problem led to another but I was determined to flesh this out before really defining either project, since this is the spot, if proved, connects projects together.

Before I knew it, more things happened and now I am completely "in deep" and I am so distracted, I have forgotten to begin writing up either projects goals and plans.  See how a problem can completely redirect your project instead of enhancing it?

So, today, I went back to my tree at and worked on James. I did find him in someone else's tree and I have contacted that person but they have not answered me yet.  (holiday madness effect here)

Being concrete sequential, I knew what I had to do. I had to find James Aiken's birth record. It was in 1855 I got it on the first shot. Now, I can connect the census INDEX (not the images which at at Scotland's People) and see what I come up with. 

I am back on track! I can write up one project and then add it to the other as I learn more. 

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