Thursday, January 7, 2016

2016 Genealogy New Year's Resolutions!

We're officially into the first week of a New Year! 

The Holiday hub-bub is now behind us... we've put away the Holiday decor, found a home for our new presents, and perhaps returned home or to work after a Holiday style vacation or time away.

It all happened SO fast! 

Here in Minnesota, most of us enjoyed a very UN-Winter like December... which was nice for a change! [Thank you El-Niño]. Hopefully, you managed to avoid all the unhealthy crud being passed around [The Dead Relative Collector was down & out for some weeks with it].

But, now it is time to think about the upcoming year... and all the things we have to do, want to do, should do, need to do, and very well might not do. 

Do you have any Genealogical New Year's Resolutions? What are they?

The Dead Relative Collector always has a few every year... [most years, I could just copy & paste the list]. However, I have designated 2016 as THE year that I accomplish things. And I'm really excited for it. 

2016 Genealogy New Year's Resolutions 

1. Organize Organize Organize

For many genealogists, this is a continuing battle. Especially long time researchers, who began in the pre-Internet days, when it was PAPER PAPER PAPER. You recent digital only hobbyists probably don't understand. Lucky you.

While not actually my office, the look was very similar!
Before I could even think about organizing better in my genealogy, I had to tackle my home office/study... 

Which had taken on the appearance of an episode of Hoarders. Yikes. So my New Year began with tackling the general mess. And I've made great strides. [Taking time for a coffee break this morning, to get this article launched].

Basically, my organization goals are simple.
- What do I have
- Where did I get it
- What else do I need/want
- Where does it go

In the Genealogy world-- Dear Myrtle has been a mainstay for many many years. Showing up in our earlier publications & Internet world.  If you have "Organization" as one of your goals in 2016 [and let's face it, you should], you need to check our her 'FINALLY Get Organized' challenge for 2016. The first weekly installment just came out on Sunday. I think it's going to be great and am excited for it.

What's your organization plan for 2016?

2. Obtain Documents I Know Exist

Over years I have obtained many many many official vital records for my famiy. HOWEVER, there are some vitals for direct ancestors that I have not. In most cases they are early 1860-1900 documents that I know exist [often I've viewed them], but since I gleamed what I thought was important from them, I didn't get an actual copy.

I decided I'd better change my ways! There are ever changing laws on what documents are available to genealogists... not to mention ever changing & increasing fees. So I'm making a list of the "important" records I know are out there, and getting them this year. While I still can.

What about you? Do you still have documents [not on Ancestry!], that need to be obtained from a brink 'n mortar Courthouse? 

3. Overhaul Binder & Filing System

This is somewhat related to my #1 Get Organized resolution, but a whole other project in itself. Since I'm mostly a paper genealogist, I use binders & files to store/organize/display my research. Some binders & files were started over 20 years ago... and some family lines haven't been nearly as researched as others.... and they could use a serious overhaul.

So once I've organized via #1... I plan to thoroughly update & reconfigure all of my books. I see this as a great way to find holes in my research and other things I'd not considered before [or since 1995].

Luckily, I had the foresight to think about this project months ago... and was able to snag a bunch of nice binders at seriously discounted post-back to school office supply sales! [Woo Hoo]

What about you? Does your filing system [paper, digital, etc] need an overhaul?

4. DNA Results--- Examine, Understand, Research

In 2015, I had my DNA tested through Ancestry. I also had the DNA of my 2 living Grandparents & my Father tested. So let me tell you, there are A TON of results in my DNA profile pages.

I've slowly went through the results & tried to determine where & how we might be connected. But it's a slow process. My Grandma alone has over 270 third & fourth cousins... and with all the mystery brick wall ancestors in her line, it will take a long time to figure out some of the connections, if ever!

If you haven't tested your DNA, I strongly encourage you to do so. And to get a tree up [even the barest skeletal direct line] so folks can compare & connect with you. After all, that is the idea, right?

5. Enjoy My Living Relatives!

Say What?! You mean log off Ancestry and plan a coffee date or enjoy a phone call with a living, breathing relative?! Yes. I do.

I have A LOT of extended family. Some of them I like quite a lot. So 2016 is the year that I plan to really appreciate them. The older generations are quickly fading... and before long I won't have anyone from then to even spend time with. A nice chat, sharing some old [unidentified?] photos, making memories-- and remembering old times. That all fleshes out our genealogy research.

Not to mention, I'm lucky to have at least one genealogist cousin on each  side of my family. So I'm going to step it up and engage with these fellow researchers too.

I'm also well into planning a large family reunion for one branch, for the Summer of 2016. 

What about you? Do you have living breathing relatives you've neglected? 
Maybe a family reunion is on your list for this New Year? Or maybe it should be?

Of course... like other genealogists, The Dead Relative Collector has plenty of other "projects" and "To Dos"... but these are the ones I've prioritized in a way that I feel is obtainable.

Of course I want to continue my genealogical education and attend some seminars and webinars.... read articles & blogs that pertain to me & my research. Continue in rescuing & reuniting lost family heirlooms & items [a common subject for regular readers here]... and a host of others things in the genealogical world.

What are your plans for the New Year?
Do you have any genealogy resolutions? 
And if so, what's your plan of action?

1 comment:

  1. I found your blog quite by accident, looking to see how others organize their massive amount of data. I have been doing genealogy for a while now and I have nagged relatives for pictures and stories over the years. I find now that my relatives are all gone and it's just my immediate family. My family wasn't large to begin with,so I could contact people easily. And they left me with many stories and photos that I am going to weave into a family history narrative for my children. I have done my mother's side and my children loved it and wanted more, so I'm starting on my father's family. So while they are gone, the story will live on in my children and now in the history they have.