Posted by Jasmine Vasquez on January 2, 2018 in ProGenealogists

January is a time to take stock of the past year and make plans for the new one ahead. In addition to resolutions about food and exercise, it’s the perfect time to set some goals related to family history. Not sure where to start? Two Ancestry professional genealogists recently shared the pet projects they plan to tackle in 2018. We hope they will inspire beginner and experienced family historians alike.

For the Professional: Get Credentials

With relatively few academic degrees in the field of genealogy, professionals often seek accreditation to show colleagues and potential clients that they are skilled and adhere to a code of ethics. Danielle Johnson already works for AncestryProGenealogists, but her personal resolution for 2018 is to boost her career by getting accredited. “You are more likely to get hired and promoted with certification or accreditation,” Danielle said. “And it can help you find clients.”

There are two primary organizations that offer a credential in the genealogy world: The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen), and the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). The process for each organization is different, and each offers its own benefits. In 2018, Danielle plans to complete a four-generation research project for the first of three levels in the ICAPGen accreditation process.

For the Hobbyist: Tackle a Brick Wall

Of course, not everyone who enjoys genealogy needs such rigorous credentials. If family history is more of a hobby, Danielle suggests making a commitment to break down one brick wall on your family tree in 2018. “Pick something challenging that you have been avoiding,” Danielle said. “I know in my family tree, there are areas where I have picked the low-hanging fruit.”

While hints and public trees can be a great way to get started, focusing only on those aids is not a good long-term strategy, and it’s not going to answer the more difficult questions in a family tree. To do that, Danielle suggests looking for every possible record that’s available for that specific genealogical problem. Classes can be an excellent way to learn more, either for an introduction to general methods of research or instruction in a specific topic. The National Genealogical Society has a comprehensive survey of institutions that offer classes, many of which are fast, online, and free. From the link above, scroll down to the section titled “Improving Your Genealogical Skills.”

For Children: Teach them the Names of their Great-Grandparents

Many parents, aunts, and uncles struggle to get children interested in family history, but it’s not impossible. Make it a resolution in 2018 to help them memorize the names of their great-grandparents. That’s the goal of Sherry Lindsay, a Certified Genealogist who recently started working on this goal with her 7-year-old son.

To prepare, Sherry made sure all the profiles in her Ancestry tree had pictures attached, even the people her son already knows. “That way the pattern makes sense,” Sherry said. “He understands that this is where the dads go in the tree, and this is where the moms go. He understands the physicality of it.” She also made him the center of the tree, so he could visualize his place in the family line.

“Now, when my parents tell stories of their family and ancestors, he will know which person they are talking about,” Sherry said. She has found that it is perfect to practice while driving in the car, asking him questions and giving him clues when he gets stuck. As a bonus, his younger brother has learned along with him.

Genealogy is a lifelong endeavor with new repositories and avenues of research opening all the time. What are your family history resolutions for 2018? Please share in the comments below.

Jasmine Vasquez

Jasmine Vasquez writes for the Storytelling Team at AncestryProGenealogists. Before joining Ancestry, she earned her journalism degree from the University of Oregon and worked as a reporter in Central Oregon. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.


  1. Mary T. Morris

    I will spend time going thru my citations from earlier years and try to get them updated more correctly. Looong term project!

  2. Michael Gadson

    How to contact ancestry DNA lab to ask a question and send a thank you message? Or how to contact ancestry any department that can forward a message to the correct department?

  3. Michael Gadson

    the customer support the customer support link is not working please if you are able to send this message to any one at please do so? Send to the lab
    “Great!!!!! Thank you all!!!! I am excited about this and ask!!! Please be detailed Down to the last 1%?!!! Please don’t miss anything?!!! . Love you all … this is truly great!!.” Good health, Michael Gadson

  4. Bonnie

    My family history resolution for 2018 is to get my DNA tested. In my research as a freelance writer, I’ve encountered discussions about self-identifiers on forms. One form asked for specific countries in Africa. This is where I realized only continent-born Africans can respond to this section precisely; whereas, Americans of African descent can only identify vaguely. Another discussion I heard on a university radio station, shared how many Easterners began insisting on having self-identifiers true to their ethnicity rather than being categorized as white. There was also concern about the accuracy of census records where ethnic groups not identifying as Black are listed as European; even though they were Easterners. Anyway, that discussion rekindled curiosity about my own DNA.

  5. Lynda Bourne

    My goal for 2018 is my DNA results Andy finding information on orphanage my great grandmother was at as a child. It been difficult but all keep looking love puzzles.

  6. Rosemary M. Haddock

    My goal in 2018 is to continue to organize all of my genealogical papers in notebooks. Also, to take classes when available and ask as many questions related to my ancestors. It is never enough information and I want my grandchildren to know all about where they came from and instill upon them the importance of where they came from good and bad.

  7. Robin Crawford

    My goal for 2018 is to focus on finding my great grandmother family on my mom dad side. The Morris family. I been trying to connect this family in bits and pieces. My great grandmother died in 1928. They were from Lafource Parish.,only found them in the 1900 census. Her mother died in 1914. Trying to locate when her dad died Thomas Morris.

  8. My goal in 2018 is to continue to organize all of my genealogical papers in notebooks. Also, to take classes when available and ask as many questions related to my ancestors.
    Nice Post Thanks For Sharing

  9. Matt Miller

    Ancestry’s genealogy goal for 2018 should be to bring RootsWeb back ASAP. The only blog posts that should be posted should be updates on the security breach at RootsWeb and updates on estimated recovery times until the issue is resolved. Ancestry is looking very bad by not responding to readers’ questions and complaints on that blog post.

    • Dana

      I was about to sign up for this site. Is there something I should, possibly, know before I do? I would appreciate some info on this beach you mentioned. Thank you. ~ Dana

  10. Jeff C

    Ancestry’s genealogy goal for 2018 should also be to start adding new data content! It has now been just 3 days short of 1 WHOLE MONTH since ANY new data was added for ANY country in the world – according to the “Recently Added and Updated Collections on Ancestry” page – which has a last date of any additions of 13 December 2017! Can someone please enlighten me as to why no more additions for a whole month? Or is this standard practice? New Year cheers… Jeff C

  11. rachel bradley

    i have no idea why the people on he comment section are somehow related?? to my grandfather-cause your not.I know this because he would never have had an affair outside of his marriage.don t flatter yourself or desrepect my grandfather by thinking you have ANY biological attachment to him,Thank you_rachel bradley

    • Betty

      Rachel, what do you mean? Your comment is on a blog post about genealogical goals for 2018, this has nothing to do with your grandfather.

  12. Dorothy (Faye) Bishop Thorn

    My goal for 2018 is to complete my husband’s family history. I began working on this a few years ago. There have been some changes within the family and new information needs to be removed or added to the notes I have written down.

  13. aurora daniel

    For 2018 my mission is to finally tie up the loose end of who my biological father is. Vincent Gerald Baker – I will find you 🙂

  14. Doris

    My goal for 2018 is after 33yrs of always wondering. I will get to meet my twin baby girls, I had given up for adoption. Thank you, the pain of never knowing is over.

  15. malinda

    I’ve been researching my grandfather. Everytime I type in his name, it come back as a position in the Military. His first name is “Major.” How do I get around this to get the right information. Oh, I fail to mention, that it also come back with question marks. Major??

  16. Rena Dishman

    I’ve been told all my life we have Native American on my grand mother’s side, but I’ve been unable to find anything. I plan to do everything I can to find out if this is true. If anybody has any ideas on how to do this, I would greatly appreciate it. It has always been something special for me find out.

  17. Annoyed Customer

    My genealogy goal is to finally get all my Ancestry matches added to DNA Painter. Of course, I can’t do that until Ancestry gives us a chromosome browser, like MyHeritage and FamilyTreeDNA already have for quite some time. Until then my Ancestry matches are basically useless — I’d actually prefer my cousins test anywhere BUT Ancestry!

  18. Anna Cecilia pettiford

    Thanks you for my DNA out come of my DNA test how I am with thanks you for our help with thanks you let me in to out come of me test

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