Welcome to 2011. Now that the automatic gunfire has died down in the neighborhood, and I feel safe sitting at the computer by the window, I can take a look back at last year’s goals and see how I did.
1. Attend at least 2 seminars in addition to the OGS Annual conference
Grade: 1/1 In addition to the OGS conference last year, I went to the Pennsylvania genealogy seminar put on at the Akron Summit County Library and featuring Elissa Scalise Powell and John Humphreys. The second seminar I attended was none other than Elizabeth Shown Mills in an all-day appearance at the North Hills Genealogists fall conference. I have to say – although I don’t need them to meet this goal, I also learned a lot from going to the various meetings of the genealogical societies to which I belong. If you have not yet joined a society, there is so much to be learned from the meetings, speakers, and other members. Just do it already.
2. Become active in 2 indexing projects, including one Familysearch project.
Grade:1.5/2 I did become active in indexing through FamilySearch, but I did not participate in any other indexing projects. Although I did post the release about the Cleveland Cemetery project going online…nah, I guess that doesn’t count.
3. Take steps towards BCG certification
Grade: 2.5/3 I’m going to give myself the benefit of the doubt here. I’ve engaged in a number of activities that are directly intended to beef up my skills and experience to prepare for the certification application. I am going through the NGS home study course, ProGen (see next goal), and I’ve kept tabs on discussions on the TGF list about topics relating to certification requirements and standards. I think this summer might be the time to start actually preparing submissions. We’ll see if it makes this year’s list of goals.
4. Join a ProGen group
Grade: 3.5/4 Starting last June, I could count myself among the members of ProGen 8 – the graduating class of December 2011.
5. Familiarize myself with the Cuyahoga County Archives and the records held there
Grade: 3.5/5 I could cheat here, but I won’t. Honestly – I have yet to go there this year. I spent a lot of time looking at their website, but the more common records they hold are available elsewhere, so I have yet to be forced there by a more complex project. Just like the Browns…maybe next year (or this year I guess, as I write this.)
6. Explore conducting a beginning genealogy class at the Euclid Library
Grade: 4.5/6 Saved by a technicality. I was told by a fellow ECCGS member that they were not interested in genealogy classes. So much for the exploration. However, I have been approached by a couple of people wanting to know whether I could present something about land records and mapping. Yes, yes I can. Just as soon as I get it together. If your group is interested in something along the lines of property research, plotting properties and the like, contact me, and make me do it.
7. Become comfortable citing sources without the “wizard”
Grade: 4.5/7 I can’t even cheat at this if I wanted to. I should have worded this one differently so I could have cheated, but there is no way. I can barely say I’m “able” to, let alone “comfortable” citing without a wizard or template. It all made wonderful sense when listening to ESM explain it while at the lecture in Pittsburgh. Then I drove home, and *poof* the spell was broken. I do like my line from this goal though – I think I’ll keep it for this year: “I want to be able to type it out, not fill it in.”
8. Document ALL negative searches
Grade: 5.5/9 Okay, I can cheat a little here. Because man oh man, I’ve documented them – where I’ve put that documentation is a whole ‘nother issue. Some of it’s in a notebook, some written on family group sheets. Sometimes I even remembered to print out, take with me, AND fill out a research log. The research log is a hot topic with me, both in ProGen and with my personal and professional research. I really cheat myself by not keeping better records of my own research. With client research, I cheat myself again, because I don’t have an efficient method of keeping a log, and find myself wasting time either compiling it or recreating it. Sound like a revised 2011 goal to you? Me too.
9. Fill out PA and OH research for Elijah Staats and complete a research report.
Grade: 6.5/9 Let the cheating continue. I’ve done this in part. I’ve written several parts of this, just not all together. One of my goals was to submit this phase of the Staats history to a writing contest. The OGS deadline is in February, so it remains to be seen whether I can get a submittable version before then, but I would really like to get ‘er done.
10. Account for all of the shares in the property left in the estate of Jacob Staats, d. 1783 Appoquinimink Hundred, New Castle, DE
Grade: 7/10 I’m giving myself a half point here, and I’m not even cheating. I’ve spen hours and hours working on this problem – days even. Hell, I even locked my keys in my car at the hotel in Wilmington, DE. Granted, that was not much help in solving anything other than where to go for dinner, since it forced the answer to be “nowhere, we have to order pizza ‘till AAA gets here.” But I’ve made some progress, including getting the New Castle, DE deed index on permanent loan at my local FHC so I can expand the scope of the search.
11. Complete 2 other 2-3 generation research reports.
Grade: 8/11 Hey – not only have I done this, but I’ve gotten paid for some of them. I should actually get more than one point for this one, but I guess it averages out with the ones where maybe I shouldn’t have.
Final Grade: 73%
I’m a little disappointed in that score. Sure, I probably did a little better than some people and their January 1st declarations of weight loss and kindness to animals or their wives. But still, I aim for perfection so 73% is not good enough.
Overall though, it has been an amazing, whirlwind year in terms of my genealogical transformation and development. Making the leap from personal to professional research has just been the capstone of a year of learning and growth for me. At a time when much of my life has been stagnant and I’ve been stuck in a rut, genealogy has allowed a little flower to grow in that rut. In the years to come – New Year’s goals or no New Year’s goals – I’m excited that I will always, always, always continue to grow in this profession and hobby. There will never be a point where I think I know it all or that there is no point in learning more. I’ll be dead long before I get the chance to learn it all. Especially if I keep eating those gas station corn dogs like I did on the way back from my latest research trip.
Happy New Year, everyone!