Your 2016 Ancestral Quest

It's a new year, and we all know what that means... resolutions. It's a rare year if I keep my resolutions beyond January 15 (especially my never ending goal of exercising regularly). However, when it comes to genealogy, a fresh start can be just what we need. Setting clear goals for this year can help streamline our research and lead us to new and exciting discoveries.So where do we start? Here are a few tips I've gathered for setting genealogy resolutions:Determine Your Research "Quest": What are you ultimately determined to find? What excites your research? Decide on a 2016 Research Quest. Then, break down your quest into achievable goals, perhaps person by person. After setting goals, identify clear objectives that tackle each goal one step at a time. This will focus your research, reduce confusion or "genealogy overload", and improve chances of finding the correct record with the information you are looking for.Example:

  • Quest: I want to take a trip to where my family is from originally
  • Goals:
  • Identify the ancestor that immigrated from their home country
  • Find the ancestor's parents and siblings
  • Learn more about their culture and traditions
  • Determine exactly where this ancestor is from
  • Objectives (for determining where the ancestor is from):
  • When was this ancestor born?
  • What year did they immigrate?
  • Did they immigrate with family?
  • Where did they live after they immigrated?
  • Why did they immigrate?

Accomplish your research quest by finishing one objective at a time

Set Short Goals: Sometimes we get so bogged down with reaching our goals, that we forget to do the little things. Such as:

  • Write down a memory
  • Keep a journal
  • Share your research with family or friends
  • Interview a family member
  • Scan and post an image of an ancestor online
  • Take images of previously discovered gravestones

Set a Timeline: It's important to actually decide when you are going to reach your goals. Setting realistic times for your research will not only help you reach your goals, but also streamline your research without it taking over your life (we all know how that goes).Make Them Visible: I like to put my goals on sticky notes at my desk, so I have a constant reminder of what I am trying to accomplish. Year after year, this has been the best way to not lose focus on what I really want to do.Get Organized: It's impossible to make any headway on a goal, if what we already have isn't organized. Perhaps the best goal, and the first place to start is to clean out our desks, organize our paper documents, and store everything safely online.

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Written by


June 24, 2017
Wesley is the founder of

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