Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2017 Genealogical New Year's Resolutions!

Another New Year Upon Us... Hello, 2017!

Another New Year…. My first impulse is to lament what a colossal failure 2016 was, in terms of my genealogical research! I still feel like I’m completely disorganized and wading through mountains of paper. And due to this dilemma, I feel that I’ve not been a very effective researcher—squandering valuable time and energy.

Of course, I know I’m probably just being unrealistically hard on myself. At one time, I was ultra-organized. I knew every single bit of research I’d done and every piece of documentation in my possession. In fact I had large swaths of my genealogy committed to memory. It was great. Fast forward 20 years. Things have changed. Lots of accumulated information, but not always where it needs to be. Brick walls have come tumbling down… but new ones have of course sprouted up. It’s a never ending cycle.

But in reality, if I’m honest, 2016 was a pretty good year for me genealogically speaking. I accomplished quite a few things and while I’m still “disorganized”, I think I’m well on my way to changing that.
Among my “accomplishments” that I can claim for the year
-Organized & launched a successful family reunion over a weekend, for 100 people
- Attended 2 day North Star Genealogy Conference, to further my genealogical education
-Continue to analyze DNA results from myself, father & both maternal grandparents
- A number of new pedigree ancestors & family surnames to research
- And even a few cousin connections

But now to the important part---- 
My 2017 New Year's Resolutions, albeit 3 weeks late...

1. GET ORGANIZED-- so much easier said than done... but I refuse to have this one show up in 2018. I know I can corral my 20+ years of research into something manageable once again!

2. Educate myself on what I don't know that I don't know... or a few things I know I don't, but wish I did! This is an easy one, because I'm already planning to attend a couple of genealogy workshops in person in 2017. There is always something new to educate yourself on when it comes to genealogy!

3. Photo Archive-- while this could fall under a sub-section of 'get organized', I'm giving it it's own resolution! I am lucky enough to have thousands & thousands (yes, really!) of family photos. It's time, once and for all to get them scanned & better organized. And the countless 'unknowns' need to be shared with others for possible identification!

4. Real Kin Connections-- Yes, there are actual living breathing relatives that I rather enjoy, and many of whom have interests in genealogy. It's time share some info & memories over a cup of coffee!

5. Time To Travel-- Yep, The Dead Relative Collector has more than a few road trips to take in 2017! There are records to be searched for, archives to be visited & cemeteries to be tromped through. Now to get planning the whens & wheres! 

And of course, this list could go on and on...and on and on... But I'll digress...  The world of genealogy is ever changing. Every week in fact, there are new resources and information entering our world. If I was lucky enough to be retired or vastly wealthy, I know I would devote many more hours in a week to our craft. Such as it is, neither is the case. And I will plug along, snatching what hours I might here & there... working hard at accomplishing my tasks... staying hopeful...

What's on your genealogical agenda for 2017? Any big goals? Trips or conferences on your schedule? A book to read or a webinar to enjoy? Some longtime brick wall you've finally decided to make a priority and smash down? Whatever these goals might be, Good Luck & Happy Hunting!


  1. Excellent goals, some of them daunting, especially if you are not starting out and you have a huge collection of photographs and documents. Any advice for someone who has literal stacks of paper and photos on the best way to organize?

    1. As someone who also has stacks and stacks of paper & photos (and totes full too!), I have always tried to keep my paper organized thru the binder system, though I'm way behind in that task. I think a bookcase of binders is easier to maintain & utilize than file cabinets (or piles) full of loose papers. And even though I don't think I'd ever go fully digital, I think the "less is more" idea is probably best. I don't print out everything any more and try to streamline the paper I do keep. Easier said than done, of course. Good Luck!!

  2. Reads to me like you had a pretty successful 2016. Congrats!

    I wish you luck with organizing. That one's always a bit of a challenge since it requires persistent diligence to stay on top of the incoming information. Any ideas on how you plan to share unknown photos with family to see if you can crowdsource identities? Just wondering if there's a better systematic way than my approach (ad hoc sending them to family for review or posting them on the blog on their own page).

    1. Thanks! I hope 2017 is even more productive, after 20+ years there is a lot to get through. No, I don't really know of a sure fire way to share the unknown family photos. I'm lucky to have a couple of yearly family reunions-- so I always make up "who are we" photo displays-- and I regularly post family photos on my blog & share photos with cousins thru Facebook. And I personally visit some relatives who aren't online... or mail them prints. It's a slow process, as I'm sure you also know... but the older generation in my family is quickly shrinking, which is why I really want to get at it even more this year!