My (genealogical) New Year’s resolution

On New Year’s Eve (day), I was visiting with a friend when the topic of New Year’s resolutions came up.  I asked if she had any and, with quick certainty, she said “oh, no, I never make mine until a week into the new year.  It helps me really focus on what I’d like to accomplish – and it helps me keep them in the long-term.”  While I always enjoy the fresh start (and adrenaline rush) a new year can bring – I really liked her more methodical approach… which has led me to the question: what is my genealogical resolution for 2014?

In the last year, I’ve made some great progress in my own research and in terms of establishing more of a presence within the genealogical community.  I had the good fortune to attend three conferences (RootsTech, the inaugural New York State Family History Conference, and The Genealogy Event here in NYC) and, a few months ago, learned that my proposal to present at the 2014 RootsTech had been accepted, which – in a few weeks – will mark my first lecture at a major genealogy conference.

But, in terms of my own research – I think I’ve isolated the one area where I’m the MOST eager to improve my own skillset and methodology and, perhaps, by publicly posting it for all to see, my efforts will last beyond this first energy-fueled week of the new year:


Better sourcing.


Any genealogist worth his or her salt knows the importance of thoroughly sourced, expertly cited research; it allows one’s work to live on long after they have left the planet, but it also provides professional clarity and creates a high standard within the proverbial sea of falsehoods facing anyone who researches their ancestors.  While the thrill of discovery and the development of detective skills can be a major reason to keep pursuing genealogical research, I am resolving to spend more time establishing a well-documented paper trail, ensuring that my research will live on for future generations.

I recently met a “new” second-cousin-once-removed, who has inherited hundreds of handwritten pages of research her mother conducted over a period of many decades.  With her mother now gone, many of these pages and photographs would be rendered completely useless were it not for her mother’s tremendous foresight.  To that end, I’m looking forward to re-investing in my research, creating a legacy for my family – past, present *and* future.

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