Happy New Year everyone! Okay, I’m a little late, but I’ve been out of town for a few weeks. Now I’m back, graduated, and not yet employed. Let’s start the new year off by reviewing the goals I set in a blog post this time last year:
Research – 3 out of 4 goals achieved, not too shabby!
- Complete the entire 2017 Genealogy Do Over program from Thomas MacEntee. FAIL I did not complete the entire year. In fact, I don’t think I got past the first two months!
- Visit the National Archives and scan a few pension files. SUCCESS My mom and I scanned 6 Civil War pension files. You can read all about it in next week’s blog post!
- Administer more DNA tests. SUCCESS Last year I tested my dad’s brother, my mom’s siblings, my great aunt and my great uncle! At this point I have not identified any other candidates for DNA testing in the family.
- Put DNA results to use! SUCCESS I spent a lot of time last year identified DNA matches and using those matches to continue building out my tree. It has confirmed a lot of ancestors and brought up new research questions. I also wrote several blog posts about my mom’s siblings’ DNA results.
Education – 2 out of 6 goals achieved, needs improvement
- Attend RootsTech 2017 in February to learn even more techniques I can apply to my research. SUCCESS I had a great time at RootsTech 2017 and I am returning for 2018!
- Stay up to date on podcasts and videos I subscribe to. FAIL I spent most of my driving and scanning time last year listening to audiobooks and music instead of podcasts.
- Pay attention to opportunities for free webinars. SUCCESS In fact, when Family Tree Webinars offered a 50% off subscription I jumped on the chance to sign up. I have definitely been getting my money’s worth. I have watched a lot of webinars this year. I also attended free webinars from two additional genealogical societies.
- Join #genchat on twitter! FAIL I didn’t do so good at remembering which weeks were genchat weeks and I was often busy on Friday nights anyway.
- Attend as many local events as possible. FAIL I only attended 1-2 local events. There weren’t a lot of events put on by my local society last year and when they did I had conflicts.
- Utilize Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills. FAIL I didn’t reach for the book very often, except for a couple school assignments.
Writing – 0 out of 2 goals achieved, shameful
- My goal this year is to publish at least one blog post a week. KIND OF I only began consistently blogging in October. Prior to that, I only posted 11 other times in 2017. But since October I have not missed a single week!
- I am really interested in learning how to write my ancestors’ stories this year. FAIL I have definitely gravitated towards writing-themed blog posts, webinars, and presentations last year, but I haven’t managed to put pen to paper for one of my ancestors yet.
My Goals for 2018:
I recently watched Crista Cowan’s video about her genealogy goals for 2018 and I am adding her category of “service” for this year. I am also changing research to projects since I tend to do research in spontaneous bursts, but I drag projects out over an entire year. Hopefully I am only setting realistic goals and I will be able to accomplish all of them this year!
- Complete the preservation project I began last year. I have inventoried my entire collection of family photos and mementos and created a supply list. I need to place the order, apply all the supplies, and create a new inventory. I am hoping to accomplish this before I need to move again.
- Scan the rest of my family photos and documents then organize the scans in a logical manner. Ideally this will happen alongside the preservation project to reduce the handling of the items. These photos will also need to be backed up on two additional hard drives.
- Complete a few of the semi-local research trips that I have been putting off:
- Visit the Henry County Historical Society in Indiana to review their Straughn files.
- Visit the Ohio History Connection to pull the articles of incorporation for a family business.
- Visit the archives at the West Virginia Regional History Center at West Virginia University to read the Civil War diaries of an ancestor’s brother.
- Attend #genchat at least once per month. Obviously I didn’t do a good job remembering to participate in genchat. Maybe if I set a more specific goal for participating I will be more likely to achieve it! I will start by putting dates into my Google Calendar.
- Attend/watch at least 2 webinars per month. As time permits I would love to attend 2 live webinars per month, but I might need to just watch them online after they air. I really enjoyed watching webinars in 2017 and I want to keep up with it this year.
- Study The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy by Blaine Bettinger. It has been on my to-do list for a while, I’d like to make this year the year that I get to that!
- Stay on top of Facebook group files. This year I became one of the admins in the GAA Facebook Group. I want to review the “Files” section of the Facebook group at least once every two weeks and make file backups every month. To accomplish this I will set reminders on my Google calendar.
- Publish GAA Magazine. In November I also became the Editor in Chief of GAA’s collaborative blog, GAA Magazine. My goal is to continue publishing every two weeks for the entirety of 2018, no matter how much I have to nag people for content!
- Find volunteer opportunities. Last year I volunteered in two genealogy-related places. I scanned 19,000 birth returns and 1600 SAR applications at the Indiana State Library and I stayed on as a volunteer after my internship at the SullivanMunce Cultural Center where I was cataloging their genealogy library. Obviously without a full time job I had a lot more time on my hands than I will in the future. My goal for 2018 is, wherever I end up moving for a new job, to find similar opportunities to continue volunteering at least 2-3 hours per week.
- Publish one blog post per week. I have been consistent since October and I’d like to make it through 2018 without missing a single week of blog posts. The hardest part has been coming up with ideas!
- Implement a content calendar to keep the blog posts on track and planned well in advance. I will need to explore some paper and electronic options to see what will work best for me.
- Write four character sketches of my ancestors. To motivate me to accomplish this I have already selected the four ancestors, focusing mostly on ancestors for whom I find a lot of DNA matches. Not only will these four sketches contribute to my blog posts this year, they will be excellent brief biographies to share with DNA matches who are not avid genealogists. The ancestors I have chosen are: L.G. Anderson, Stephen Irwin, Georgianna Lloyd, and George Edgar Earley.
Have you written about or set your own genealogy goals for 2018? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!