Juliana Smith writes on the Ancestry.com blog about 6 Resolutions to Get Your Family History on Track for 2014. I don’t make resolutions but I like to make a list of things I want to accomplish in the upcoming year. My list is supposed to keep me focused. [Anyone who knows me personally is now laughing hysterically...]
Having an unnatural love for list-making, I like to spend the first week of a new year making lists of things to do. It doesn’t matter that I don’t accomplish half of what I list and I don’t even dwell on that fact. For some reason, it soothes my soul to look forward to doing new things rather than lamenting all that lies unaccomplished. This parallels my thinking in my other obsession [quilting], where at the start of a new project — the designing and planning stages and finally beginning the project — is much more exciting than the finishing-up stage. [Don't ask me how many quilting projects I have currently underway. Hehehe.]
I have just gotten back to my family history after a 10 year break so I want to focus, focus, focus. Trying to re-enter old work and documenting new discoveries has me running in circles. Which explains the reason why I feel the need for a list, I think. Using Juliana’s 6 Resolutions and her comments about them, I came up with a list of goals for my family history research for 2014. Here’s a summary of Juliana’s resolutions:
- #1. Make it a priority
- #2. Meet with my ancestors
- #3. Learn, learn, learn
- #4. Organize file – electronic and otherwise
- #5. Read history
- #6. Preserve stories and share them
Making my research a priority is not a problem–keeping it from being an obsession is probably a better goal for me. I cancelled my Ancestry membership temporarily to get a handle on the obsession thing. I need to make it a priority to get everything entered from my old files before I continue adding in new. My ancestors aren’t going anywhere, right?
- #1 Finish entering information from old family group sheets, Duthie history, and McEvoy booklet into Family Tree Maker[FTM].
As I enter the old information into FTM, I need to review and inventory all the materials I’ve gathered for each person. I may need to print new family group sheets. I want to make sure I have sources cited and take notes on what information is missing on sources previously searched.
- #2 Refile old documents and add new information and documents.
I want to use some sort of timeline-chart format for each direct line family to see where vital information is missing or not sourced properly. By doing this, I will also be able to form some new conclusions based on new information and connections and see new avenues to follow to form new research plans.
- #3 Take notes, form timelines and make new research plans.
I use OneNote to keep track of my life and lists. I have notebooks set up for my family history but have not completely worked out a way to use them cohesively with FTM. I need to work on that. Part of the reason I am having to re-enter all my data and notes is that my old FTM files were on 3.5″ floppies. Yes, ancient technology… When using OneNote everything can be stored on SkyDrive, as well as USB, so maybe a similar situation can be avoided in the future. [I can only hope.]
- #4 Work out a plan to store documents electronically with OneNote.
- #5 Organize scanned documents on hard drive into OneNote notebooks.
About eight weeks ago I made a task list in FTM of people in my direct line who needed names, immigration and death dates found for them. Recently Ancestry was offering free access to records in the UK, I added a few more names to my lines and completed a few tasks. A new task list is in order, I think.
- #6 Compile a new task list in FTM for my direct lines and use it along with the timeline charts to form some concrete research plans.
- #7 STAY FOCUSED!
When Ancestry.com offered the free access to UK resources, I took advantage of it. [I only had access to US resources at the time.] I was able to add the parents of my original Williamson immigrant ancestor including the female surname. I am hoping to be able verify her parents names next. I searched records for the Isle of Man and added to my Cormode line as well. This brings me to Juliana’s third resolution–learn. Now that I’ve taken those two lines back over the pond, I will need to learn about research and obtaining documents in Lancashire, England and Lezayre, Isle of Man. Which leads to my next goal:
- #8 Learn more about resources and documents available in England and the Isle of Man starting with the free Ancestry Research Guides and videos and then other online sources and books.
Moving on to my last two goals… just for personal satisfaction:
- #9 Connect and correspond with distant cousins.
And finally, again, as a constant reminder:
- #10 STAY FOCUSED!
Let the check-marking begin!