As everyone welcomes in another year, most of us are in a state of reflection and contemplation as we try to figure out what we want to carry out in 2012. The big trend at I’ve noticed in the genealogy community is to find a buddy to help keep your genealogy goals or resolutions on track – having a friend to lean on for support is always helpful and aids in accountability. Being the Type-A, ambitious, planner obsessed person that I am, I have found a genealogy buddy and I’m creating a plan.
My mantra in my life for 2012 is “Live. Let Go. Discover. Breathe. Smile.” My genealogy goals for the year need to be in line with this mantra.
Here are my 2012 Genealogy Goals:
1.) Attend RootsTech in February and SCGS’s Jamboree in June. Going to conferences is always an experience because of the energy – everyone is excited, happy, bright-eyed and ready to learn. It is a chance to see old friends and meet new ones. A chance to meet the genea-celebs (I’m going to meet Joshua Taylor at RootsTech – let’s just hope I don’t faint or ask for his autograph or stutter or make a complete fool out of myself) and realize that they are totally down to earth, amazing people. My goal is to soak in the energy, learn as much as I can in and out of classes, and most of all, enjoy the company of my amazing genealogy family.
But for me personally, conferences also represent an opportunity for me to branch out on my own and discover more about myself as a person. Although I used to travel a lot as a kid (especially trips between Seattle to Los Angeles in the summers to visit my Dad), I don’t really travel much and I’ve never really traveled without my parents. Going to Salt Lake City to attend RootsTech will be the first trip that I’ve planned and executed all by myself. I’ll be flying by myself – and unlike the days of my childhood where I would fly by myself, there will be no flight attendant to watch over me, tell me jokes, and even let me into the cockpit to meet the pilot (those were pre-9/11 days). I’ll be staying in a hotel all by myself. As my dad likes to put it, I’ll be taking my first “Big Girl Trip”. Although I’m nervous about the trip and trying to plan for every possible occurrence (Seriously – I’m a ridiculously Type-A, plan obsessed person), I also couldn’t be any more excited.
If you’ll be at RootsTech, come visit me at the WikiTree booth in the exhibit hall – I’d love to meet up for a bite to eat, drinks, or for a class. Or even just to hang out.
2.) Write About Each of my Brick Wall Ancestors. The only way I can tackle my brick walls without barking up the wrong tree or wasting time doing work that I’ve already done is to organize the information I already have and write out my next steps. This helps me visualize the holes in my research, create a plan, and tackle the brick wall.
I will write a blog post (or series of posts) for each of my following brick wall ancestors:
- My paternal great grandfather, George Rogers.
- My paternal 3x great grandfather, John Asher.
- My paternal 3x great grandfather, James L. Clawson Sr. There is so much misinformation out there on this guy and I really want to be able to separate fact from fiction.
- My paternal 2x great grandmother, Josephine Frank.
- My maternal 2x great grandfather, Adolph Carl Doerflinger – especially his life in Germany.
- My maternal 2x great grandparents, Antone Keppler and Rosalie Endres – especially their lives in Germany.
- My maternal 2x great grandfather, Frederick Harney – yet another man from Germany.
- My maternal 3x great grandparents, Stephen Weston and Mary Morgan in Wales.
- My maternal 3x great grandparents, John Coombe and Esther ? in Wales.
With 9 ancestors to cover, I will have to write about an ancestor about every month. Having only 9 ancestors to write about gives me some wiggle room for the holidays and extra busy months. Hopefully by writing about these brick walls, I will discover more about these ancestors and about research strategies.
3.) Move Away From Paper to Digital. I hate to admit it, but I just don’t touch my genealogy binders. I’ve worked so hard to make the notebooks well organized and easy to read – but I almost never use them. Being the busy, always-on-the-go kind of girl, I want my research to be available to me at a moment’s notice and the way to do that is to keep my research on my computer. My laptop goes nearly everywhere with me and I have most of my research on there. My RootsMagic file and all genealogy-related image files are saved in Drop Box, so I also have them available from any computer with an internet connection. My binders sit on the bottom shelf of my living room bookshelf untouched because I can’t access them as spontaneously as my digital files.
The majority of my research happens when I don’t plan it: during a lunch break on my college campus, in between study sessions, and any other times I have inspiration. My college backpack already weighs a ton due to my textbooks, school binder, food, giant jug of caffeine and laptop that I carry around on a daily basis – I don’t have the space or physical ability to carry around my 6 genealogy binders just in case I get the urge to do some research. The binders just don’t fit my lifestyle any more.
But I haven’t sworn off paper all together. Paper is often the best tool to help me sort through my thoughts and ideas. Paper helps me slow down and avoid the mistakes I often make when I am rushing. Paper gives me something tangible to hold. But those used pieces of paper will probably not be useful to me in the long-term. I forget about paper and thus, I rarely ever refer to a piece of paper twice. However, if I scan that page and link it to my RootsMagic file for the ancestor in question, I will see it and use it.
The plan is to scan every piece of paper in my New England Ancestors binder (where I have the most papers with my brainstorming and thought sorting sessions) and then link it to the appropriate people in my RootsMagic database.
Having a genealogy buddy to support me and keep me accountable will definitely be key to successfully fulfilling these goals. My genea-buddy is Miriam Robbins of Ancestories. I had the pleasure to meet Miriam in 2010 and I really felt like we connected. We both have crazy schedules as we struggle to survive and make things work. We have both faced hardships and struggles but came out as stronger people. And we both love researching our ancestors, blogging about it, and teaching others about.
I’ve tried to keep my goals realistic while also giving me a bit of a challenge to push myself. I often work best when I have a little bit of a challenge and I can become
obsessed determined to accomplish the goal. (Example: I wanted a 4.0 GPA last semester. I studied like crazy, developed an addiction to coffee, and achieved a 3.9 GPA).
2011 was a year of new beginnings for me: Figuring out who I am without my Mom in my life, moving out on my own, teaching preschoolers for the first time (so much fun and so my thing!) and trying to figure out what kind of teacher I hope to be. All in all, it was a good year.
May 2012 be yet another year of discovery, letting go, smiles, breaths of fresh air, and living life to the fullest! There may be growing pains involved and definitely a lot of trial and error, but in the last three years of my life, I’ve learned that I can survive just about anything. For those of you who have been reading my blog during 2011: THANK YOU for being on this journey with me! Here is to 2012!