2014: It was the year of “52 Ancestors”. I tried (and failed) to write about a different ancestor every week. Unfortunately, I didn’t even get halfway through and ended the year with only documenting the lives of 20 of my ancestors. And some of those blog posts were carry-overs from my old blog to this one instead of a new researched and written biographical piece. Not exactly a success on my part.
2015: It is the year of the Genealogy Do-Over. Or the Genealogy Go-Over. Maybe a little of both, if that’s possible. It’s a little hard to tell with the plethora of info that’s been coming in preparation for this first week of the Do-Over/Go-Over. I’ve made a point to NOT read every blog post and Facebook entry that’s been written – I simply can’t keep it all straight. All I know is that when Thomas MacEntee announced the idea for the New Year of his 13 week plan to start over and get this thing called genealogy done right – sources cited (good, primary ones not 3rd cousins’ stories of what they heard years ago at a family dinner), research plans, organized files, education options, etc…I jumped on it.
I jumped in with both feet – insomuch as “I’m committed to this”, but not so much that I’m racing to do everything that everyone else is doing. Oh, I’ve already been bitten by the “new software” bug (Hello Evidentia!), but it’s a good one that’s going to help me become consistent with my citations. But as the beginning of the year rang in, I was also inundated with ideas and plans that my fellow genealogy peeps would be doing. Honestly? I couldn’t keep up or follow along. No offense, but new computer master files, file-naming systems, and various log spreadsheets for this-that-and the other thing are giving my ADHD brain a workout. WAYYYYYY to many “shiny things” grabbing my attention and taking me on a detour of the route that I really wanted to go on.
So here are my goals for the the new year:
#1 – Improve my research skills. That is my #1 ultimate goal for 2015. That is a pretty vague goal because it covers a number of sub-goals, but I want to be a better researcher than I was when I started this years ago. Back then I was merely a name-collector. Today I want to know my ancestors more completely and I have a passion to share their life’s story.
#2 – Organize my computer files. Between being a PTA mom & officer, and collecting documents & photos on ancestors – I fell into a habit of just dropping files into my download folder and not adequately keeping track of what I have or where I have it. There’s also the problem of safe storage. Google Drive or DropBox will become my new best friend as a backup plan for my files…once I locate everything.
#3 – Work on new (old) trees. That means the three trees that I’m currently working on (my own, and two different friends) will get make-overs. My personal tree (because it’s the largest) will get a new tree, but it will be more of a “go-over” rather than a “do-over”. I have family paper files that are already pretty well organized, but do I really need all of that paperwork? Is going “green” another goal I can eventually make for this year? The trees that I’m currently researching for friends will get a do-over. They’re not as large and I can easily take on the task or re-doing them from the beginning.
Using Thomas’ 13 week plan for better research habits is also a great FREE way to move toward my goal of being a more professional genealogist some day at some point down the road. This is just a good skill-building opportunity that I need to take advantage of.
Oh! Goal #4 – writing more! Whether it’s about ancestors or just my genealogical journey through this year….writing is a release for me. Ultimately I’d like to publish a blog post regularly, but I’ve found that I don’t do well when I put that kind of pressure on myself. So I won’t promise you anything at this point, but hopefully you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what I share throughout the year.
Happy New Year Genea-friends!