Opinion

Genealogy goals

It hardly seems possible that 2021 is coming to a swift end. For some it’s flown, while others can’t wait for it to be over. Whichever category you fall into, 2022 is looming on our horizon and it’s a good time to take stock and reflect on what needs doing in your research and how to accomplish your goals.

We all know how easy it is to get distracted when doing genealogical research. There are the usual suspects of chores, fending off robo callers, grandchildren, pets and other interruptions. Worse is that unexpected find that sends us hot on the scent of a new clue that leads us away from what we originally started to do. You’re researching one thing; another pops up and off you go, and the initial search is forgotten or put on the back burner while you pursue your new avenue. Quite often the initial search gets buried forever. It happens to us all. 

So let’s think what you’d like to do with your genealogy in 2022. Below are a few suggestions, but that’s all they are. There’s no judgment on what anyone should be doing; it’s what you want to do.

Getting your materials organized is important so you can find what you need quickly and clear up the clutter in your space. Not being able to locate things is frustrating and often forces a halt to your research.

Perhaps work on the family photo collection and get that labeled and organized.

Maybe follow up on those sources you never got around to research or those areas of research that got “forgotten” along the way.

Join a lineage society — make contact, get the application and work on it.

Consider writing a family history for your descendants or planning one — it helps if everything is in order before you start.

Create a corner where you can have your genealogy and laptop and defend it against encroachments. A dedicated workspace is wonderful particularly if it’s away from other distractions.

Sign up for an online webinar or two on new techniques or exploring new areas of research. There are some good free ones out there, so it needn’t be expensive.

Consider joining a genealogical society.

Contact some of your relatives you’ve always meant to talk to about the family but haven’t taken the time.

Overburdened with family items? Keep your memories and let the 13 butter dishes go. No one says it’s easy, but once done you won’t regret it.

Spend some time learning to operate your genealogical software and what it can do for you.

None of these may be a goal of yours, but whatever you accomplish will create a great feeling and then you can tackle another. Progress doesn’t require racing; a slow walk will work just as well. I set two goals for 2021 and got them done so will be moving on to others in 2022.

I wish you and yours a happy 2022. Let’s hope this one will be a good year.

Columnist Nancy Battick of Dover-Foxcroft has researched genealogy for over 30 years. She is past president of the Maine Genealogical Society, author of several genealogical articles and co-transcribed the Vital Records of Dover-Foxcroft. Nancy holds an MA in History from UM and lives in DF with her husband, Jack, another avid genealogist. Reader emails are welcome at nbattick@roadrunner.com.

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