Last year I attempted a “Do-Over” on my family tree.

Like most resolutions, it didn’t last long, and I think I made it through all of week 1 and organized my computer files before letting the “Do-Over” get the best of me.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that I made it to my local gym for more workouts in the last year than I accomplished actual completed tasks in the organized Do-Over.

After 43 years, I can say with a certain amount of absolution that resolutions do not work for me.  I know what it is that I want to do and what I want to accomplish, I just prefer to do it at my own pace.  Putting it on a calendar sets a timer in motion and suddenly I’m feeling pressure to accomplish this huge milestone in the next 365 days.  Or smaller milestones over the course of the next 12 months.  Or 52 weeks even.

The new year signals this crazy period of time when we try to convince ourselves that it’s a good idea to do such things –  whether going to the gym, organizing our family history research, or even just taking a fresh set of eyes to our personal lives and seeing where we want to make changes….hopefully for the better.  But sometimes, maybe it’s just about getting the right tools in our hands to help us put those plans into motion.

This year I have opted for a “New tools, NO resolutions” New Year.

I’ve been researching my ancestors for a while now, not as long as some, but longer than most.  There are still family members to locate, details on their lives to find, and stories to be told.  I’m at the point in my genealogist/family historian career that I no longer am concerned as much with adding the names to my database, but more so it’s their stories that I have a passion to share.

In doing so, I also want to tell it well, and tell it intelligently.  When I was in high school and college, the number one rule to a good research paper was to have sources to back up the material that you’re writing about.  It’s no different in the genealogy community.  “Cite Your Sources” is the #1 mantra (or should be) of every genealogist out there.   To help with that, I found a program that helps me with my sources, and assists in leading me to a logical conclusion about all of the evidence I have collected.  Evidentia is pure genius in doing this as it forces me to look at everything and pull it all together in a “big picture”sort-of-way while also keeping me on track with genealogical proof standards.

This year, I just recently added the companion book to the Evidentia software as well as a “Quick-Start” guide…because sometimes you know that there’s a whole lot more that you could be doing but just don’t know how, and then there are other times when you just need that quick reference tool as a reminder aide.  Bravo Ed and Evidentia – I’m really looking forward to taking things up a notch this year!

Another purchase was the “Genealogy Do-Over” workbook from Thomas MacEntee.  I know I already confessed to failing miserably at this last year.  I fully anticipate, however, that this workbook will help by putting into my hands what I wanted to do, and allow me to do it at my own pace without having to watch all of the genealogy over-achievers zip right past me, leaving me in the dust.  Love that this was put into print for us!

I wrote in a previous post that I was looking at new family tree software and RootsMagic has met that challenge for Family Tree Maker users (with a free book included!).  Check that off Genealogy Shopping List as “purchased”.

Finally, I recently renewed my membership to a related genealogical society, and in the process purchased a reprint of the 1874 illustrated atlas from Gallia County, Ohio…my paternal “homeland”, if you will. (at 50% off, I couldn’t NOT get it!)  I’m way too visual of a person to not have this item in my genealogy library, so I’m incredibly anxious to leisurely browse through and locate my many ancestors who were in the area at that time period.

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Combined, all of these items would probably be termed as what the Genealogy Do-Over refers to as “Bright Shiny Objects” – you know, those things that come up that ultimately distract you from your goal.

Have no fear my genes-friends….I have enough outside of my genealogy world to distract me. All of these lovelies will simply pull me in and guide me to the next ancestor who is merely waiting for me to tell their story.