Did you make any New Year’s resolutions?
If family history is important to you, it’s not too late to make some commitments about what you’ll accomplish in 2012. You may not have the luxury of free time to do genealogy every day or even every week, but you can certainly do something significant monthly or at least quarterly. You decide how often, but write down your goals now!
Here are a few examples of how you can make progress on your family history this year:
1) Interview a relative about your shared ancestry. Don’t put it off any longer!I will forever regret delaying a contact with my mother-in-law’s cousin, who could have told us so much about their Swedish roots.
2) Sign up for a class. Check out what the Minnesota Genealogical Society has planned for January and beyond – http://mngs.org/. When the new IGSI website is launched, watch for updated information about their activities.
3) Ask for help on “Irish Saturday”. On the second Saturday of every month, you’ll find IGSI volunteers available at the MGS library to assist with Irish research. Address is 1185 Concord St N, Suite 218, South St Paul. Saturday library hours are 10 am-4 pm.
4) Start writing. If so far you’ve only compiled names and dates in a family tree, begin documenting what you know in a narrative format. You’ll be surprised how satisfying it is to see paragraphs on paper, no matter how rough your story may be in its first draft. The exercise may also help you identify loose ends or inconsistencies to pursue.
5) If you’ve already done some writing, share your work with family members. Doing so may elicit more facts, new stories, or valuable photos – possibly even a sibling or cousin interested in helping you with the project.
6) Reconnect periodically with distant relatives you know are interested in family history or other people you’ve found on genealogy message boards, etc. They’ve likely continued to research their branch of the family tree and may have made discoveries important to you.
7) Devote time to organizing your family history records. Like house-cleaning, most of don’t savor the task but feel good about it when it’s done. For me, aiming to do a few minutes of organizing on a regular basis is much more productive than trying to attack all those boxes and drawers in a single day.
8) Take steps to preserve family photographs. It might be as simple (and critical) as writing names and dates on the reverse. Or maybe this is the year you’ll finally get your photos scanned?
9) Stay focused. Write down just a few goals based on your priorities. Be happy when you can cross an item off your to-do list.
2012 could be the year for big break-throughs in your family history project!