I’ve been thinking a lot about genealogy lately. (In other words, it’s business as usual.) And I’ve come up with my own Genealogist’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2013. It’s ‘back to the basics’ for me.
First: I am going to spend more time talking to the senior members of the family while I still can. I wish I’d done this while my father was still alive. It was important—but alas, it wasn’t urgent—and then he was gone. It seems like a lot of genealogy buffs were first inspired by the death of a loved one and their regrets about letting so much history slip away.
Second: I am going to keep better track of where I found stuff. Too often I’ve made wonderful discoveries—and in my excitement, I didn’t document my sources well enough. Then when I needed to compare conflicting information, or go back for more details, or prove to some smarty-pants that I knew what I was talking about—I was unable to retrace my steps.
Third: I am going to share more. In genealogy, as in life, you often receive with the same measure with which you give. The more I reach out, the more I meet people who are interested in the same families as I am. Also, I’m going to make more posters, scrapbooks, binders, and online albums to share with family. Why do all this research if I’m just going to keep it to myself?
Fourth: I am going to contact libraries and historical societies more often. The internet can get me only so far, and ordering vital records can stretch the budget. So I have to remember there are other options. Recently I contacted some libraries and historical societies in Ohio and out west—and for the cost of copies and postage, I got more information than I ever dreamed of.
Fifth: I am going to try harder to break into the Amish market. Maybe it’ll be easier when I live among them, as we hope to do after we retire… But what little Amish genealogy I’ve done (three binders for Amish friends as gifts) I have enjoyed so much. I thought Amish genealogy would be boring—farmers, farmers, farmers, with never a scandal to break the monotony!—but I was mistaken. It has its own charm.
I wonder what other genealogists are resolving to do in 2013?