Do you have trouble staying focused in your genealogy research?
What drives your genealogy plan for research? Shaky leaves? Requests from relatives? Pictures you just found? An upcoming family reunion?
How do you decide what to focus on when you get that extra hour to work on your family history?
Try these steps to genealogy goal setting.
1. Look at your overall tree and see possibilities.
This first step is similar to taking an inventory of the repairs, updates, and remodeling you might need in your home. You can’t do them all at once. Where will you start? Genealogy goals are the same. Look at your tree and evaluate what you have already found. Look near to your generation and look far to other generations. Try to look past birth or death records you might need. Instead look at a bigger picture than just a needed record.
2.Choose 2-3 genealogy goals.
What did you see as you looked over your tree? Any standouts? revolutionary army veteran? pioneers that settled a region? rumors making you look at being a descendant of the Mayflower? immigration from another country? fascinating stories you’ve found on individual descendants? From these standouts, choose 2 or 3 that you want to concentrate on and let these 2-3 items be your goals. Example 1: I will turn in a completed application (with required proof) to the Mayflower Society (or DAR/SAR/other lineage societies) 6 months from today. Example 2: I will track the movement of my husband’s family from Virginia to Oklahoma with proof finishing by Christmas. Example 3: I will write a biography of my father’s father, grandfather, and great grandfather in time for Father’s Day.
3. Create a plan for each goal.
Decide how you will go about achieving these goals. What is needed to achieve each goal? Make a to do list and what you will need to do to get the items on your list accomplished. Then have fun with your genealogy!
Goal setting happens any time of the year; not just first of the new year.
Goals can change. Frequently revisit your plan for each goal. Update the goal and the plan as needed.
Get a quick victory and work on the easier of the goals first.
Kim has a passion for Genealogy. After retiring from a career as a teacher, administrator and education consultant, she spent the past several years doing extensive family research. She is a newsletter editor for the Illinois State Genealogical Society and the Peoria County Genealogy Society. Kim is also a member of the Peoria Chapter of DAR Daughter of American Revolution and a member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.