Friday, December 30, 2011

Where Did 2011 Go?

Last December I outlined my genealogy goals for 2011. At that time, I admitted that I am great at starting projects but terrible at finishing them. Nothing happened in 2011 to dispute that. 

Things got off to a good start and I was pretty much staying right on schedule through January and mid-February. By the end of March, when I thought about a quarterly update, things had already slowed down enough that I decided to wait for a mid-year update in June. By June, goals were no longer even on my radar. 

The good news is that I still managed to accomplish several things on my list, apparently by accident. (We won’t talk too much about what all I failed to get done.) 

Working on the brick wall that is Theodocia Smith Lanier was at the top of my list. I didn’t make any real progress with her but have chipped enough pieces off of another brick wall to make a reasonable conclusion as to the father of my 2nd great-grandfather, John R. Petty. (Analysis/proof argument written and John R.’s father and siblings added to my database.) 

Traveling for research was high on my list – specifically to the Georgia Archives, the North Carolina Archives and Laurens County, South Carolina. I made it to Laurens County but did not make the other two. Even though I missed two of my three goal locations, I did manage to visit several other places. I researched in Pope County, Illinois, Livingston and Muhlenberg County, Kentucky and Whitfield, Murray and Forsyth County, Georgia. 

Now if I just had all of that research processed. 

I intended to write research plans for six brick wall ancestors and actually completed four so that’s not too bad. 

Blogging more about research challenges and successes was also on my writing list. I did a decent job with that, mostly covering my Petty research. Writing about what I had and where I needed to go next not only helped me sort things out and see what I had but it also attracted several other Petty researchers. 

This is the category where I accomplished the most in 2011. I attended NGS, FGS, Georgia Family History Expo and the KGS Annual Seminar. I started the NGS Home Study Course and completed four of the six lessons on CD 1. The last two lessons are both in progress and should be finished before my year is up in March. 

Attending only four (instead of six) 2nd Saturday Family History Workshops hosted by KGS and KHS was the only slip in my education goals but I think I made up for that by “attending” at least a dozen webinars and some live sessions from Rootstech and SCGS Jamboree

This was (and always will be) my weakest event. I just don’t like the grunt work but did complete one big goal – reorganizing my digital genealogy files and moving them to Dropbox*. That is about all I accomplished in the maintenance category. There are still sources to clean up and stuff to scan. Maybe next year. 

Overall, this wasn’t actually as bad as I expected but it proved what I really already knew - yearly goals just don't work for me. I think it’s that feeling that I have all year to get it done that is my downfall so I’m thinking about a different approach for 2012.

*If you use the Dropbox link to set up an account, you will get a little extra free space and so will I.  


  1. BIG smile when I read your first paragraph! I could start a post with the very same words. :( I've decided to start fresh in 2012, no peeking at last year's list. I also lowered my expectations for the new year. That should make them easier to meet! LOL Best of luck with your list for next year Linda!

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  3. I decided to do a plan instead of just goals for 2012. We'll see how that goes.

  4. Anytime accomplishments are in education, I think that's a good year! How did you go about writing your research plan? Free hand or did you follow a guide? I need to write a research plan, but need a starting point. Good luck on your 2012 goals!

  5. Sounds a lot like me Linda. I got some of the things on my list done, some not even started and some done by half or a third. This year my goals are to finish up last year's goals, LOL! I thought writing it all down would help, and it did...just not as much as I'd hoped! So I will try, try again!

  6. Jenna - Two or three of the sessions I attended this year dealt with research plans so I used what I learned as a guide. Basically, I outlined what I know about about the person and what I want to find (which was parents for the ones I've done so far), figured out where to look (starting with the earliest location I knew) and what records to look for. Also added notes about any research that I've already done and those results and any theories/possibilities.

    I did that in a Word doc but also added a To Do Item in Legacy under the category "Research Plan" and referenced the Word doc. I also created individual To Do Items for the specific tasks from the plan.

    Now the trick will be to keep the plan updated as I actually do the research.

  7. I was amazed with the "Analysis/proof argument written". You are my hero, but you knew that!

    Hey you accomplished something. Even if you don't complete your list, it reminds you each year of your focus! Good luck with the coming year!

  8. As always, VERY impressive. CLAP CLAP CLAP

  9. Ah, yes, first paragraph could be the story of my life. Sounds like what you did this year will be a good foundation for accomplishments next year.

  10. Thanks Linda, we may have to discuss more!