The best part of the holiday season—at least in my opinion—is the week which follows Christmas day. That was the time when the office was quiet, with both employees and clients taking a well-deserved week off from work. In the relative solitude, I could wrap up the year's work and get set up to launch into the new year.
As it turns out, it is not much different with my genealogy projects. I've made it a habit to transform these last few days of the year into a time to review research progress from past years and determine which parts of the family tree could use some focused attention. Actually, I've stretched that year-end review into the beginning of the new year—enough to cover twelve days, one for each month of the upcoming year—to permit enough thought to selecting one ancestral line per month for the upcoming year's research work. The result of that planning session yields my Twelve Most Wanted ancestors to pursue for the upcoming year.
Today begins that process. I'll follow the same schedule as I have the past three years now: each day, announce one ancestor to focus on for a month in the new year. For the first three months of 2023, I'll focus on three ancestors from my mother's line, followed by three months dedicated to my mother-in-law's tree. By the time we arrive at July, I'll switch to explore three ancestors from my father-in-law's family, and then wrap up the year with three ancestors from my father's tree.
In the past three years, I've covered ancestors who were among the earliest of settlers in North America, like my Tilson line, which reached back to Mayflower times, and my McClellan ancestors and related lines who settled in Florida during its earliest years as a United States territory. I've also explored ancestors whose earliest traces left me stuck in the early 1800s in Virginia—a Boothe ancestor—or my Laws family from Tennessee and North Carolina. I've also covered families who were not relatives, but had important connections to my family, such as the line of King Stockton in Florida, or my godmother's Ukrainian family, the Melnitchenkos.
This year, I feel the need to use DNA test results as my inspiration, and pull up DNA matches to specific surnames and enter those connections on my database. We'll start in January with my mother's Broyles ancestors, an important connection to history for my family.
While it isn't common for people to be able to point out friends or neighbors in town and identify them as a tenth cousin or a twelfth cousin, the Broyles family has allowed me that distinction. True, the family lines are well documented, and the family's earliest years in this country were a strong start, given their many children. Still, I'd like to explore those Broyles roots more deeply this month, especially concerning my direct line—and their relatives who share the same name and have been mistakenly given the wrong identity in online trees. It might be helpful to set the record straight, but even more important, to connect those DNA matches with the right location on the branches of that Broyles family tree.