Tuesday, January 7, 2014

This Genealogist's New Year's Resolutions for 2014

Another new year, full of hopes and dreams, and a few New Year’s Resolutions of a genealogical nature…

1.     Reading:  I want to read a dozen genealogy books in 2014.  One at the top of my list, when I have a little money to spend, is Professional Genealogy edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills, which is a collection of wonderful articles written by a number of genealogy experts.  Not every section would apply to me, but enough of them would.  I want to read Ancestral Trails by Mark D. Herber, which I’ve had on my bookshelf for a while, and which I hope can help me in my search for my husband’s Yorkshire roots.  Also on my list are couple of Christmas gifts from my wonderful step-kids:  Time Traveller’s Handbook: A Guide to the Past by Althea Douglas, for some historical context for my research, and Turn Your iPad into a Genealogy Powerhouse by Lisa Louise Cooke. 

2.     Message Boards:  I have had some wonderful breakthroughs by posting on genealogy message boards, mainly on ancestry.com.  This year I want to use the message boards more often and sooner.  There are some amazing researchers lurking on those boards, ready to take on someone else’s research challenges just for the fun of it.  They think of things I haven’t thought of, and look in places I haven’t looked.

3.     Giving Back:  I have an iphone now, and I want to use it to take photos for billiongraves.com in small cemeteries near my home, and in Amish Indiana when we visit.  I’ll try to do six cemeteries this year, walking the entire cemetery each time.

4.     Giving Back Some More:  I also have made it a habit lately, when I’m bored or can’t sleep, to transcribe gravestones online for billiongraves.com.  The website keeps a count at the top of the page of how many I’ve done…  I’ve transcribed about 750 at last count.  I’ll try to do at least 100 transcriptions a month.  I love findagrave.com and I use it all the time—I’ve contributed to it, and no doubt will again—but I think billiongraves.com is the wave of the future.

5.     Photographs:  In my never-ending search for photographs of my family and my husband’s family to add to my collection (and share with others), I’ll reach out to a few more distant and newly-discovered cousins this year—sharing what I have if they’ll do the same.  I have thousands of photos already, but the next exciting discovery is always around the corner!  Share, share, share—that’s the way to keep these photos from disappearing into the mists of time (or into someone’s closet or fried hard drive).

6.     Blogs:  I love to write posts for my genealogy blog, but this year I’m going to read more of other people’s blogs.  The only one to which I actually subscribe is Judy Russell’s blog, “The Legal Genealogist.”  I’m going to add a few more.  There are a lot of well-written ones out there, and it’s good reading when I have a few minutes to spare.

7.     A Field Trip:  Fort Wayne, Indiana isn’t that far away, and we travel to Northeastern Indiana regularly…  Maybe this will be the year I can visit the Allen County Public Library’s nationally famous Genealogy Center for the first time.  I’ve been told that it’s one of the finest genealogy libraries in the entire country.  We intend to retire to Northeastern Indiana in a few years, but I hope I don’t have to wait that long to check out this wonderful place that I’ve heard so much about! 

So that’s the plan, anyway.

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