Another year has come and gone. How did you do with your family research this year? And where do you want to focus on in the coming year? Now's a great time for reflecting on what you've accomplished and what you still have left to do.
Some possibilities for good resolutions for genealogists to make:
- Finding a good or new genealogy program, or updating your current program to the latest edition.
Genealogy programs are constantly being updated, and every version has specialties. Do your research when looking for a new program to make sure it will meet your needs, and always make sure the program you do have is upgraded to the latest edition to take advantage of any new advances.
- Upgrade your equipment.
Like your software, your computer, scanner, printer, and camera all have their advantages and disadvantages. If you've got time, money, and you've been using old hardware for a while, this might be a good year to upgrade. Most smart phones can do what PCs could do only a few years ago. And if you've always wanted a camera or scanner, or other computer equipment, maybe now's the time to get it.
- Sort your records, get them scanned, or create a better filing system.
Scanning all the original documents you have means that they will last longer, as they will be protected from constant handling. A good filing system is vital to any genealogist. It helps when you need to backtrack in your research.
- Work on finding and recording sources in your family tree.
This will help trace where the information you have in your tree came from. You might remember when all the information you have from a branch is from one source, but as you continue, you will find more sources, and they are worth tracking so you can find them again.
- Interview a family member.
Make an appointment with a family member who remembers your grandparents or great-grandparents better than you do. Don't forget questions and a recording device. Make sure to do it in a nice, quiet place. A restaurant might be nice because you won't have to worry about food, most are too noisy for your recording devices. There's also the added benefit of being in a more comfortable location, and having photo albums near at hand while you talk.
- Produce a family book.
There are many ways you can do this. Some genealogy software has simple bookmaking systems using the charts and lists available in the programs. But even if they do not, you can print out the charts from your program, and add family photos. Or you can use a service like Blurb to help you produce a book. This can be as simple as a visual family tree with photos you've scanned, to a basic narration of the family history, to a fully sourced and comprehensive version of the family history as you currently have it recorded.
- Create a Blog about your family tree.
This is an excellent way to show your family what you're currently working on, and a way of letting them and possible cousins looking for more information on one or more of the branches in your family tree see what you do and don't have, and gives them a place to get in touch with you easily. It also helps you keep track of how you got to where you are in your research.
Whatever you do, keep looking, keep asking questions, and above all, enjoy your family in the coming new year.