While reading over how many of my genealogy friends did completing their goals for 2011, I decided that in 2012 I was going to do things a bit differently. Last year, Amy Coffin of We Tree and Denise Levenick of The Family Curator got together over lunch and decided that they would set a few goals and be there for moral support throughout the year.
After I really thought about it, I decided this might actually work for me. I reached out to Stephanie of Corn and Cotton: My Family’s Story to see if she would like to do this together. We already are supporting each other throughout the month with our monthly goals, why not help throughout the year. Steph replied that she would also like to do this.
I wrote out my goals last night and sent them off to Steph to see what she thought. My goals are big and I was afraid I am biting off more than I can chew. Steph was nice enough to remind that it is what we are supposed to be doing.
So, without further ado, here are my goals for 2012.
Research – I really want to prove / disprove the Mayflower connection in my Richmond line. My only concern with this in funding the project.
Writing – Since I do not consider myself a great writer, this goal will be the hardest for me. I have been told many times by my aunt (who reads my blog faithfully) that I need to write a book on my O’Connell research. There have been a few family members who have researched this family and it remains difficult. At this point, my research has surpassed those before me, I do not feel like I have enough research on this line. There are still a few branches of the family I would like to work on.
Since the O’Connell line is out of the question for writing a book about, I have decided that this goal will go along with my goal for research. The proving / disproving the Mayflower connection is a large task and one that will need to be well documented as I research it. If I fail at researching, I fail at the writing. That is scary, to set for goals and know that if I miss in research, I miss in writing as well. If I succeed, it will be a huge thing for those that are researching this line and only have a theory at this point. I have gotten a few emails wanting to know if I have the proof (all from other family members).
Organizational – This past year when we opened out own business, the basement was turned into my office, sort of. It has never been completed for business, let alone my genealogy work. This year, I want to organize my office for genealogy as well. I need to move all my books, magazines, bins and other genealogy “stuff” into the basement and then start to get it all organized. I hope to be able to utilize Motivation Monday (on the first Monday of each month) to keep me moving in this long process.
Educational – I have signed up for ProGen and hope to start in 2012. I will be doing this with my genealogy buddy, Stephanie and our friend Laura of The Last Leaf on This Branch. Hopefully, the three of us will be able to complete this successfully with all that we have going on in our lives. Unfortunately, I will be taking a break from the classes at the National Institute of Genealogical Studies. Also in the plans is to go back to school to take my general education classes. Now that my kids are old enough to take care of themselves, it’s time for me to start working towards a degree.
Are you interested in Steph’s goals? You should be, she has many great goals she is working towards. Read about her goals here.
I finished the Methodology class on 21 Feb. I am very excited to have completed my second class. I moved ahead in this class because it was easier then the US: Census Records class. I seem to take more time with the census records and having to do research. Now, I can spend the next few weeks dedicated to the research in the Census Records class.
As for Methodology, I have learned that I need to be more organized and use more forms to track my research. This way I do not beat the same pavement in each search. The class has given many great examples of forms that can be used and I will go through and see if there are any changes that I need to make to incorporate them into my work.
Completion of the US: Census Records took a bit longer. I finished it on Wednesday, 3 Mar 2010, I am excited to be done. The very last assignment too me about 3 hours to complete. I cannot say that I will retain 100% of the information given in this class, but at least I have some great tools to utilize when I research within the US Census Records.
Final learning of these classes, be more organized and be detailed with the information we are abstracting from the Census Records!
US: Census Records was not so bad this week. We went over the different census records you can find, besides the Federal Population. I found the Native American Schedules interesting, just because the government deemed who was countable and who was not. When they finally got around to counting all Native Americans, the Census is lost in the 1890 fires. Ughhh! How aggravating for anyone researching their Native American ancestors. I actually completed this class in one day, no procrastination needed. Finally!
This weeks learning: Maps are important for any genealogist to utilize. Understanding the border changes will only help us with our research, especially when it comes down to ordering records at the county level, we can accidently try to order a record from one county when are ancestors are living in another. Same thing when it comes to the States or the different Territories of the US.
On a personal note, I wish I had a history teacher that was passionate about the subject. I sailed through my history classes being bored and uninterested! When my eldest was in High School we went to Open House, and I can recall two different years that I loved her history teacher, because they brought the subject to life. I remember wanting to be a part of her class, just to enjoy the discussions or take part in the cool projects they were doing.
Only one week left and then 2 new classes to start. There is a good possibility that I will start my new classed before the six weeks is up on my first two. Next up on the list are:
US: Vital Records, Understanding and Using the Records
Electronic Resources: Using the Internet
Hopefully there will be some good material to review here as well.
As I continue to go through my classes, I am still procrastinating on the assignments that involve more work. For example, in my Census class, I read the module last sunday and did not start the homework until Wednesday. On Wednesday, I only answered the questions that did not involve much research or time. Then, I spent Thursday morning do my research and answering the questions. Though I am procrastinating, I am still loving the each of the classes and look forward to next ones. I have two weeks left on each of these classes and then I will start the two new ones.
Really glad I am taking this class and exposing myself to new things.
Learning of this week, though I feel organized, there is plenty I can do to become more organized. Unfortunately, I do not have an office to get organized in. So, for now. It is what it is! I will hopefully, someday soon be able to spend time organizing myself according to the list of things I have to do.
I finished module 3 for both classes early this week. I read both modules on Sunday and did the assignments for Methodology that day as well. Today, I took about 1.5 hours to do the assignments for the US Census Records class. I feel good that I finished early in the week. Because my goal is to get a head by at least one week. That way when the month of March starts, I will not feel to overwhelmed that there are two new classes waiting for me. In order to attain my goal of finishing the certification by April of 2011, I really need to stay on course and try to finish the classes in 4 weeks instead of five.
I am learning many new techniques to keep track of my personal information. What I need to do is make a list of things I would like to change in my systems, (such as keeping a directory that is specifically for genealogy purposes) I started this awhile back and just need to go through and make sure I am continuing with it. Maybe I will purchase some index cards to make notes on these specific things, I like the feeling of crossing things off a list. Of course I can do this with either my phone or computer, but there is no satisfaction in deleting an item on my to do list.
Forms are very important to researches, we use them to track what we have researched, what we want to research, who we have contacted and who has replied. I really need to find one that works for me. I have made a few, some have worked and others have not.
This weeks learning:
It is easier to research your own family it seems, it makes more sense to me. Patience is needed to get through families I am not familiar with. I can get through this, some of the subject matter will be new to me and that is ok. I am doing this to learn and better myself.
Second week of school is done. I finished a few of the assignments today for one of the classes. One thing I have learned about myself in this process is this, if I have concerns over something I have not done before, I am a huge procrastinator. I read module 2 for my Methodology class and did the homework assignments that I had complete understanding of. As for the ones I did not, they waited until today.
I started today off rereading the sections about abstracting information from records. This is not something I have done often and when I have done it, it has been a simple abstract of information. Simple because the record or index I had been looking at was simple information. What we need to abstract information off of was a document from the 1700’s, which is not something I have had any practicing looking at.
Though I procrastinated for a week, I did finish the assignment and can say I am glad that is behind me. Now on to week 3!
This weeks learning:
It is ok if you do not know everything, we all need practice. I need to spend some time transcribing and abstraction documents to improve my skills.
Finally completed my first week of classes for my certification through NIGS. Since my last post, things have changed a bit. Instead of taking 3 classes this month, I am taking two. Methodology Part 2: Organizing and Skill Building and US: Census Records. Let me say that these classes have already proved themselves harder than Methodology 1, which I finished all six modules in about 1.5 weeks, with an A- in the class. I was very excited about that. Good way to start school, right?
This week, I have put in about six hours of reading and research for my homework. I have learned that doing this late at night, is the best time to do the work. I thought it would be the best time, but I had to search for a specific person in the 1790 census and could not find him at all. I spent over an hour on this the other night. Today, I found him in less than 5 minutes.
Learnings for the week:
Census records offer a wealth of information, creating a timeline using census records is beneficial to any genealogist. Something I will definitely start doing.
I have been anxiously awaiting today for the past week. Today I start three classes through the National Institute of Genealogical Studies. I am currently enrolled in 9 classes. I have completed the first (in December), for February I am taking three, March I am taking three and the April I will be taking two.
This month my classes are:
Methodology – Part 2: Organizing and Skill Building
US: Census Records
US: Vital Records, Understanding & Using The Records
My plan of attack is to spend a few hours each evening on one of the classes. My goal at the end of this is to obtain my Certificate in Genealogical Studies – American Records.
Tonight’s focus was the Methodology class. Though this is a beginner class, it was great to get back to the basics and think about where I am as a genealogist and what areas I can grow in.
is that I need to find what works for me when it comes to organizing my files. I have read many different articles on this and I just need to decide what will work for me.
My goal for class and my blog is to sum up each week (over the next 6) what I have learned and how I am doing going through this process. It has been many years since I have been in a class that results in a grade at the end of the course. So, while I am excited about this process, nervous would also work to describe it.