Friday, December 30, 2011

My Genealogy Goals for 2012

During 2011, I came to the realization that I should be spending more time on my own family history research.  The more I looked around I realized that many of the top genealogists used their own family research for the backdrop of their books and articles.  I admit that I am a little slow to catching on sometimes!

I've always used the excuse that living in New England hampered my attempts to research my own families that come mostly from Pennsylvania and New York. As a location focused researcher, not being able to get to those places easily discouraged me.  No more. I'm starting 2012 with a new attitude.  I will start researching some early New England lines that I do have and have ignored. I will also focus take the plunge and focus more intently on my New York lines.


1. Get Organized

I watched Mary Hill's webinar on setting up a system for our genealogy research.  I really need to implement this.  Several years back I inherited all the family history records from my mother who was a life long genealogist but now is in the final stages of Alzheimer's. It's time to take all that paperwork and clippings and get it organized.  This is going to be my greatest challenge of the year.

2. Digitize Photos

My Dad, my brother and I have done a great job of scanning old photos but we haven't been very organized about it.  Unfortunately, since we sometimes scan separately, it's hard to tell if we've got everything done. This year I'd like to focus on finishing the job and pulling together all the photos so that they can be distributed by CD. And now that I have a Flip Pal I'd like to scan all of my Dad's personal photos that he won't let out of his sight.

3. Digitize Document and Clippings

I'm not sure how far I well get with this but I will continue making progress on digitizing documents and clippings. My mother saved everything so there is quite a lot to scan. I will attempt to digitize this material as I am organizing in goal #1.

4. Brick Walls

I will work to bring down two major New York Family Brick Walls. I need prove/disprove that Orange Hill is the father of my great great grandmother Charlotte Hill of Pompey, Onondaga, New York.  I also want to find further information, any information on my immigrant ancestor, William Edwards, who arrived from Wales before the Revolution, married a Palatine girl from Germantown, New York and then settled in Montgomery County, New York in the Glen/Charlestown area.  I vow to write and document as I go.

5. New England Research

I will plunge happily into New England research using my own family lines. I have largely ignored these lines because I felt they were mostly done by other researchers. I will start by focusing on the Sisson family, particularly because of their tie to my much loved places on the southern coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  I will also make an attempt to do some thorough and original research on my Manchester and Gurney lines.

6. Gravestone Photos

I will attempt to find/take and organize photographs of the gravestones of all my ancestors starting with the present and working backwards.  I've never done an inventory to see how many I have nor have I actively attempted to link them a genealogy software problem. I will create an inventory, link the photos and work on getting photos that I am missing.

7. Genealogy Software

After my genealogy software upheaval in 2011, I am looking forward to starting fresh. I will work toward re-entering my family history from scratch in Legacy Family Tree using proper citations.  I will have to learn how to use the software effectively. I will also learn how to use The Next Generation (TNG) so that I can control the design and output of my online family history presence and streamline adding new material.  I think the biggest challenge in both these cases is going to be the learning curve of using new software.  But I think the effort will be worth it.

Looking Forward

I have set some lofty goals for 2012! I will blog as I try to accomplish these goals.  Being accountable will hopefully keep me on track. And I will look toward turning my family research into some publishable articles.

Wish me luck!  What do your 2012 genealogy goals look like?


  1. Wow Marian, you will be busy in 2012! You are lucky to have your dad and brother helping out with scanning. I look forward to reading about the journey.

  2. I love these goals, particularly the ones to get organized and digitize photos and documents. Probably the biggest pain in the neck is staying organized and that's a good thing to resolve to stay on top of throughout the year!

  3. Wow - you definitely have some lofty goals, but if anyone can, I'm sure YOU can achieve them. Here's to a great 2012!!

  4. That's a huge order Marian! I may add one or two to what I DIDN'T finish last year just so I can pat myself on the back at the end of 2012 and say "Good job Lisa, you finished for a change!", LOL! I thought my goals were pretty realistic and do-able last year but apparently not because I only got through about a third of it. I get too sidetracked with the fun of research I suppose. Good luck with reaching your goals in the New Year!

  5. Lisa - these are goals to inspire me and to work towards. Motivational goals. Better to get them down in writing so I clear path of what I want to achieve. If I don't complete them all I won't beat myself up about it. I will revel in what I did get accomplished.

  6. I like your goals, and they are well-stated. Organizing is my biggest bugaboo. I've pulled stuff from my files to use in classes that I've taught, but I don't usually put them back. That's one goal I need to add. Well, two, maybe. First, to put back the paperwork when I'm done, and second, to locate the ones I haven't put back and get them where they belong. Lots to think about this weekend!

  7. I admire your goal to start from scratch with your genealogy software. I certainly could use a cleaner database with sources for everything! I use Legacy and heavily use the add media option to attach a scanned copy of my source to the person. Not proper I know, but I do have the source with the person...that's what I tell myself :) Good luck with your 2012 goals!

  8. Great set of goals - I speak from experience that as long as you keep plugging away (in my case with over 11,000 scanned photos/slides) it gets closer to getting done every day. Although since we keep adding new photos - it might never be "done."
    The best feeling is when someone asks if you have any photos of "fill in the blank" (for me - my cousin Sharon who passed away and they did not have photos of for her service; Christmas and Thanksgiving photos through the years, my siblings for their birthdays)and you can quickly go to your photo program, find them, AND send them off!
    I love the idea of "motivational goals" and am working on my list as I write! Thanks for sharing.

  9. I like goal 5 and 6. I am one of those peeps who uses my family and hubs family as an example of how-to so thanks for blogging about me. LOL

    I am a Sisson too.

    I'm no setting goals this year because I am giving up my professional status in 12 months. I figure I can still do all that I love and still have a life.


  10. Great goals, Marian. Like others, I'm still trying to get mine ready for the new year! My daughter got on the plane this morning, so now I'll look at what's on my desk and see about making my plans for 2012.

  11. Organization dilemmas seem to haunt a great many genealogists. I anticipate your blog posts and any tips they may contain. Also, is there a link for the Mary Hill webinar? Is it still available?

  12. You have really aggressive goals, Marian! Putting the getting organized as #1 is the best...I love Mary Hill's system and have followed a modified version of it for years. But I went through a chaotic period and need to start over again. Now that my kids are out of the house, I have an office and feel like I can do a better job of organizing. I also think that working on your New York brick walls will allow you to grow your skills in areas that are not in your comfort zone. That is always a good thing. Good luck! I'm looking forward to seeing how you progress.

  13. Midge - those are just my personal genealogy goals not my professional ones. I have a whole nother list for professional goals. :)

  14. #2 and #3 are the big ones I share with you. Good luck - and wish me good luck, too, 'cause I'm gonna need it to get all of my stuff digitized!

  15. My goals match your #1, 2 and 3 so I'll follow your posts in 2012 to keep motivated, Marian. You've set some fantastic goals---I wish you well!

  16. B U S Y - Good luck.

    Hope you enjoy working with TNG - I just love it.

  17. I copied #2, #3, & #6 onto my own 2012 list!
    It's exciting to start fresh and feel reenergized isn't it? There's hope for lots of accomplishments!
    Thanks for helping me get my genealogy goals into print!
    Cindy - GenealogyCircle

  18. Wow, these are great goals, Marian! Organizing and digitizing are on my list too. I look forward to hearing about what you find and how you're doing it as the year goes on.

  19. Marian, thank you for posting these goals. It's helped me to think about my own a little more clearly. I watched the preview of Mary Hill's webinar - it really is inspiring. I like her presentation style. I think I'll ask my genealogy society to buy the webinar and then schedule a meeting to show it to a group. I wish someone had shown me "the way" 20 years ago :) As for clean computer programs, I've printed a documented sources report and I'm going through it to clean up any source errors. I wish FTM2009 produced an "undocumented source report" as they did in previous versions. Oh well, can't have everything all at the same time :)

    Best of luck working towards your goals and I look forward to reading about your struggles and triumphs :) Happy New Year!

  20. Pam,

    FM2012 DOES have the Undocumented Source Report.


  21. Marian, see my goals here: