We are headed into the last few months of 2012. Kids are headed back to school. Fall is in the air. And I thought it was a good time to revisit our goals for the year. If you remember, I shared mine at the beginning of the year. Some of you shared yours in the comments.
Setting goals provides focus. And, if anything needs focus, it’s genealogy. It is so easy – and sometimes fun – to get distracted as we chase down various branches of the family tree. Reporting on goals you have set provides accountability and keeps you moving forward. So here is my report:
1. Backup, Backup, Backup
I now use Family Tree Maker 2012 for all my genealogy files. My main family tree is now synced with my online tree at Ancestry.com. This provides one backup. At the beginning of the year I set a reminder on my calendar to back up my tree to “the cloud” twice a month. I have done this faithfully.
What haven’t I done yet? I haven’t given my parents a copy of my files at all this year. I think I will send them a link right now so they have access to my cloud backup.
2. Get More Family Members Involved
In June I did a Barefoot Genealogist episode and wrote a blog post about sharing your family history. I have two specific projects (with deadlines) in the works. I am creating a slideshow of digitized family pictures for my grandmother’s 90th birthday later this month. And, I have created a maternal only family tree for my cousin who is having a little girl in a few weeks.
I have also created a few more ancestor pages on Facebook, connected with some (previously unknown to me) cousins, and tried to share family stories more often. I have a lot more ideas brewing but maybe they will make good 2013 goals.
3. Digitize, Digitize, Digitize
After much sorting, my mom took over 1500 slides (from both sets of grandparents) to be digitized. She has the original DVDs that were created. We copied them to my computer and also backed them up to the cloud. I’ve spent the last few months meeting with family members – dad, grandma, great-aunt – to make sure I know who everyone is in each of these old pictures. Now, we just have to share them with the rest of the family.
4. Make Sure Everything Has A Source
This is probably the goal I have spent the most time working on this year. I knew it was a huge task. Sometimes I feel like it will never be done. However, because I have been working on this, I have pruned over 1200 people out of the family tree over the last few months. I discovered two different branches were there was no documentation to prove a connection and a third where documenting what I had, proved that the connection was wrong. I think this goal may stay on the list for many years to come.
For those who will ask, I use the notes feature in Family Tree Maker pretty heavily as I work on proving connections in my family tree. Ancestry Anne has created a couple of videos on sourcing that have helped as well. You can find them here and here.
5. Respond to Messages
I set a goal at the beginning of the year to spend a little time every Friday going through message I receive from other Ancestry.com members. I haven’t done that as consistently as I expected. I have managed to get through most of the backlog of messages. The problem? I find that when I start to reply to one message I dig into the family they’ve asked about and I’m off doing more research for hours on end. I need to learn to reply with what I know and not worry about what I don’t know yet. Any advice on how to do that?
So, there you have it – my update on my 2012 genealogy goals. I have a few more things to work on and a few more months left in the year. That works out well.
For those of you who set goals with me at the beginning of the year, how are you doing?
For those of you who didn’t, it’s not too late. What would you like to accomplish – genealogically speaking – in the next four months?