Sunday, January 13, 2019

Keeping Track of a New Year

It's the start of a new year, which means it's the start of a new tracking form for research progress. It may not seem like much, but I find great encouragement from a biweekly review of what I've accomplished, in pursuing this always-elusive "finished" (don't snicker) family history record. So, out come the old charts, amended with new dates. I'll start up a new year's worth of counting, just for personal encouragement, if nothing else.

The benchmarks for 2019, at least in my case, will be the starting numbers for this year. I'm still tracking four separate family trees—one for each of my daughter's four grandparents. For the first count of the year, I'm starting with 16,546 in my mother's tree, 15,941 in my mother-in-law's tree, 1,514 in my father-in-law's tree, and at the very bottom of the pile, my dad's tree at 516.

In the next twelve months, some of those numbers will grow by leaps and bounds—most likely the ones for which I have specific research goals to complete—and others will seem to sit still. The tree that has been growing the fastest, lately, is my mom's tree, and for a specific reason: I'm taking the Southern research class at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy this week, and my mother's sadly-neglected tree needed some serious attention. This, I'm happy to say, has been my research focus in preparation for this class ever since I signed up at the opening of registration last summer.

The second-fastest growth was in my mother-in-law's tree—well, at least until I put the brakes on in mid-summer. Since then, the only additions have been when I spotted an obituary for a distant cousin and added in all the updated names while the record was on hand. Other than that, my only other reason to add any entries was if I ran across a good DNA match—meaning one who actually responded to emails, or at least had a tree publicly posted where I also have a subscription. Can't pass an opportunity like that to update records.

I'm not sure yet what my next research goal will be. At the close of this week's class at SLIG, I'll have a ten day break to recuperate from all this learnin'...and then I'll be heading to Florida, home of my maternal grandmother's roots. That should be rich soil for digging up records. At least, that is what I hope. If all goes well, my research goals in the beginning of 2019 will not be much different than they have been for the past six months. Sometimes the flip of a calendar page doesn't do much to usher in a new research protocol.

On the other hand, I'll wait until I get through these next few weeks before I reassess my research plans. Sometimes, it is refreshing to just take a break from that laser-like focus on one research arena. Switching to Irish or Polish research might just be the break I'll need.

In the meantime, it's off to SLIG I go, for a week of listening, learning, trying new ideas, meeting new friends, and enjoying the challenge of mastering new ways to tackle a research problem.

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