Notes from the past…


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My (Genealogy) New Year's Resolutions

This will be something new for me! I have decided to write something for the upcoming 39th Carnival of Genealogy, themed New Year’s Resolutions. I have been reading previous Carnivals, but never really thought I could offer anything until now.
My New Year’s Genealogy Resolutions? I think consistency would certainly be an important start. I am somewhat of a “binge” family historian. For weeks at a time, I will spend every spare minute as one with my laptop, until I just can’t stand the thought of one more instant of research! Then, for several more weeks, the files and printouts on my desk will quietly collect lots of dust, but no new data. I am not totally bereft of genealogy during this period, as I still read my Bloglines feeds and Google Alerts daily. I need to learn to pace myself and work a little each day!
Another resolution would be to develop a general plan of research. I need to look at where I’m at in my research, decide which surnames to study, then review my current data on each to decide what is missing from each surname file. I am easily distracted into following that very colorful and noisy little birdie way out onto a thin branch, rather than stay with the main flock at the bulk of the tree. I can lose days of research time chasing after that little creature, believe me!
Organization at this point is in good shape, as I spent quite a lot of time during the summer setting up my files and getting them in order. It is easy to let those manilla folders pile up on my desk, though. I must take the time to file everything properly as I go, so I can find it again.
Document, document, document! As the saying goes, “If you didn’t document it, it didn’t happen!” I have been doing better at recording the wheres and the whens of my data finds, but there is always room for improvement. Just a few days ago, I was looking at a file for my great-great grandparents. There is a date of death for my great-great grandmother, but no mention of where I got that date. Shame on me! And this is a pretty big deal, as I have been working on this very elusive lady for months. Now I must waste time and backtrack to find the source. (I hope I can find it!)
Be open-minded and try something new. I am quite good at “staying within the lines”, when there are so many resources available to me that I have never used. For example, there is a branch of the National Archives right here, not 15 miles from me, and I’ve never been there! I have also never used the LDS Family History Center that is located only about 3 miles away. I’m a bit of a coward when it comes to trying something new. Sometimes I just have to kick myself in the backside and get moving!
Last, I should join my local Genealogy Society. I just completed a volunteer project for my local society, and I’m not even a member! I should definitely join up! This is a very active society, as they do a lot of good work here with archives and site preservation, educational programs and other community involvement activities. I want to be a part of that!
Oh yeah…and contribute more to the Carnival of Genealogy!