With the new year in sight, it’s time to review my 2010 genealogy resolutions and set some new goals for 2011.
In August, I posted about my progress, and to be honest, I haven’t really done a whole lot since. Time and health have played a big role in my lack of personal genealogy research and professional development this last half of the year. Regardless, I feel I have made strides this year and, for the most part, accomplished what I set out to do.
Become more familiar with genealogy research methods and resources overall
While this in and of itself is an ongoing learning process, I have made positive strides forward. To date, I have completed eight courses toward my certificate in American Records through the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (another course is in progress). Some of the courses were a review of things I already knew, but I still walked away with new tidbits. Regardless of the “newness” of the record type or method studied, I walked away with a stronger confidence in using particular records and practices. I continue to apply what I’ve learned to my personal research, which is now stronger as a result. Unfortunately, financial restrictions are affecting my ability to continue with the program at this time (other than the course I am currently enrolled in). If and when this turns around, I plan to move forward with the program and obtain the certificate.
I also continue review several journals and magazines to learn from others, from methodology to far-flung resources, and everything in between. I take what I learn from these articles and case studies and apply it to my own research whenever possible.
Learn about various land records and maps
I dabbled a little bit into this just prior to writing my 2010 resolutions. This included reviewing books/articles and attending a lecture on the subject. I even tried my hand at federal land records.
Since then, I have scoured the deed indexes for a county of interest, and have begun to retrieve the deeds, as well as transcribe what I have found. So far, I have obtained records from sixteen volumes of deeds, which yielded over 100 deeds covering roughly five families. There are still nearly 300 more deeds to obtain for this county and family groups.
In conjunction with the deeds, I have been reviewing county histories on the county of this research in order to understand any boundary or name changes that took place and when. I hope to find maps and/or plats relevant to the varied time periods during which my family resided in the county.
Additionally, I have been consulting gazetteers for several places of interest to learn more about the areas and boundary and/or name changes. Old township maps have also been helpful.
Learn the standards for writing family histories and genealogies
I’m working toward this goal in a couple different ways. First, I joined the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE) earlier this year. I also continue to review past and current issues of NGS Quarterly and The New England Historical and Genealogical Register as a point of reference as to good research practices, documentation, and genealogical writing. I have also read a few books on the subject.
I’m now at the point where I need to practice. Back in March, I wrote a mini-genealogy about my great-great-grandfather James Manly GARRISON, using the writing style found in the NGS Quarterly and The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. I plan to work on more of these as time permits. Additionally, I have started working on some papers that I hope to submit to the NGS Quarterly someday.
About a month ago, I wrote an article that I thought about submitting to the ISFHWE Excellence in Writing Competition. I have not submitted it yet and am not sure if I will (I still have a few days to decide). If I don’t decide to do it this year, I definitely plan to submit an entry for next year’s competition.
Last year’s goals where more or less long-term goals and continuous education. This time, I’m going to get a little more specific about what I hope to accomplish in 2011.
Submit an entry for the 2011 ISFHWE Excellence in Writing Competition.
Regardless of whether I submit one this year or not (see above), I WILL submit one for the 2011 competition.
Submit a research-related article to the Illinois State Genealogical Society quarterly journal.
All of the articles I’ve written for this publication have been more technical in nature and not focused on my personal research. My goal for this year is to submit at least one article that is about my own genealogy research regarding my Illinois ancestors.
Attend the 2011 FGS Conference
This should not be a problem, since the 2011 FGS Conference is being held in Springfield, Illinois (even if I have to drive back and forth each day, I will be there!!). This will be my first national conference and I am very excited about it.
Help someone else with their own genealogy
Whether a paying client or pro bono, I would like to assist someone in their own genealogy research this year. So if anyone out there is looking for some help, contact me :)
Finish ProGen Study Group
My group is scheduled to finish in April 2011. I have completed all the requirements so far, and with two assignments left, “graduation” should not be a problem.
Stop slacking on this blog
I have not been keeping up on this blog over the last few month. This is in part due to my health issues, which have prevented me from doing research and keeping up on genealogy news. The other factor has been time. I am involved with the Illinois State Genealogical Society and my local DAR chapter, both of which have taken up a great deal of time over the last several months. But even with these factors at play, I need to be more diligent about posting more often on this blog. It saddens me to know that I went from posting several times a week, to once a month at best. I’m hoping to get back to the usual routine after the first of the year.