Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year’s Genealogy Resolutions for 2010

So little time, so much to do. That’s the first thought that occurs to me as I reflect on the accomplishments and shortcomings of the past year and try to plan and make resolutions for my genealogy research in the coming year.

During the past year I have I have devoted more time to genea-blogging, and it has definitely paid off. It achieved one of my stated blogging goals, putting me in contact with other researchers and especially with relatives: my younger brother and many newly found cousins – generous Brinlee cousins who have kindly shared family pictures with me, GeneaBlogger cousin Vicky Everhart, and Ethelene Dyer Jones, a cousin through my Dyer line. In addition, blogging has provided me much needed practice in writing about genealogy. I loved the research – the thrill of the hunt – but had not been disciplined enough to write up the results. Also, having to write up research results often provided the necessary prod to put the final touches on my research and tie together all those little scraps of paper. The articles are not always perfect, but they do the job and I have even been happy with the results for a few of them. It was especially gratifying to write about the things I had learned about my great uncles William Henry Lewis and Preston E. Moore, to outline my brickwall smashing strategies for my great-grandmother Lizzie Smith Brinlee, and to actually record some memories for descendants to read in the Memory Monday posts. Genealogy blogging carnivals, Amy’s blogging prompts, and Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun have truly helped to focus both my research and my writing efforts. (A special nod to Randy – there were a number of SNGFs that actually ended up in something resembling a real research outline – I never expected that!)

Work has been responsible for taking a chunk of time away – sometimes for travel and sometimes simply because I am so tired after work that I cannot sit down at a computer and concentrate. The final thing that has reduced genealogy time for me has been something that I can only describe as a guilt complex – the feeling that there is always some household or yard chore that I should be doing or errand I should be running before I can indulge in the luxury of sitting down to do genealogy. Yes, sometimes I actually feel guilty doing genealogy because I enjoy it so much!

So my first resolution is to make more time for time for genealogy research as well as for genealogy writing. This will definitely include devoting a large block of time to transcription, which was one of my resolutions for last year. This resolution was only partly carried out; I did transcribe a large number of obituaries that I ordered over the course of the year, but did next to nothing on the Civil War service records and pension applications or any of the newspaper articles on Sheriff Henry Lewis. Those must be made a top priority this year.

Though there were some research accomplishments this year (mostly on the Samuel Moore project), a lot of it was scattershot and many projects suffered constant interruptions. So, unlike last year, I am going to make some specific project-related resolutions:

- Finish inputting information on the Joseph Madison Carroll family. The day after Christmas I learned that the Heritage Book for Garland County Arkansas has been published and is available for purchase, so I immediately sent in my order. I’m hoping it will provide a wealth of information on my Normans.

- Input the information for the Hiram Carroll Brinlee Sr. and Betsy McKinney family, which will wrap the great-great grandparent level of data entry.

- Push my Lizzie Smith brick wall research as far as I can. Try to track down the origin of “Knoxville” as her place of birth. If this is credible, focus on Smith families in that area. Also work up a database on promising Bonner (first husband) families and try to correlate them. A large map of Tennessee with color-coded push pins may be in my future….

- One of the “big” projects on the next (great-great-great grandparent) level I want to work on is the Elisha Lewis-Rosannah Dalrymple family. Many (perhaps all but one) of their children may be “backward orphans,” which was a subject of the 85th COG, so this will definitely be a research project of love for me.

General resolutions and plans:

- Join at least one additional genealogy society (I belong to the Fairfax Genealogical Society), either NGS or a local one in an area of interest.

- Having taken advantage of the half-price deal for a Footnote subscription, now I really need to make that thing pay for itself. Also need to do a serious survey of online newspaper resources to see which, if any, are available for my geographic areas of research (thank you, Miriam Midkiff of Ancestories, for taking up just this very subject with your new website and blog!).

- Serious photo scanning may have to wait until finances are favorable for the purchase of a high-quality scanner, but I can at least do some photo organization to get ready for that.

-Blogging: Continue with regular features such as Family Newsletter Friday and Follow Friday and occasional features such as Please Keep These Things. I will continue with Memory Monday as much as possible, but may occasionally substitute with Amanuensis Monday (nod to John Newmark) to highlight some of those documents that I am going to be transcribing… Do more research-related posts. And, to mention my other failed resolution from last year, I would still like to become a more technologically proficient blogger (maybe switch to 3-column format?).

Submitted for the 87th Carnival of Genealogy.


  1. One of your many accomplishments has to be "Commenting."

    Without question, you are a master at the post comment.

    Thank you, I enjoy every one of them and appreciate them greatly!

    Happpppy New Year!


  2. I agree with footnoteMaven...your comments are always greatly appreciated by me. Please know that your blogs have been a springboard for some of my Flipside writings. You have ambitious goals for 2010 and I know you will accomplish them, Greta. I look forward to reading each and every one of them.

  3. And Happy New Year to you! Thank you for the compliment. It's just so much fun to "go visiting," especially with all the thoughtful and funny posts to read.

  4. Thank you, Linda! I cannot tell you how much that means to me to hear this from you. I have also been inspired by your blog and your total context approach to genealogy.

  5. Greta Dahling! I so admire the way you go about your research and even more your your writing.

    Happy New Year!

  6. Thanks Greta, BTW, I read your impressive list of Resolutions. Now, I want to read some of your older posts. Lucky you, living in FC, VA, I love that area (lived in Alexandria for 20 yrs.). Do you get to the DAR library? I thought I was already following you, glad I am now.

  7. Happy New Year Greta!! It will be a great year for you!

  8. You got a lot done last year! I hope your Smith wall comes tumbling down this year and I look forward to the Sheriff Lewis articles.

  9. Sheri, thank you so much! BTW, I have been having a blast Madmenning and Star Treking myself. (Did I just make those verbs?)

    Barbara - Thank you! I haven't visited the DAR Library, yet, though I've done the Library of Congress and the National Archives. I hope to visit the DAR Library this year.

    Leah - Thank you - I wish you a super-successful 2010!

    Apple - Thank you, especially for the wishes on SmithQuest! I really love all the different features you do on your blog - the letters, the windups, the countdown memories, and everything else. You're one of my idols!

  10. Your writing is definitely an accomplishment, as it has taught me so much in the last two months I've read your blog. I even took the time to read some of your older posts.

    I wish you luck with your goals and I'm sure I'll see you writing about them during the year.

  11. I hope you make significant progress on your goals for 2010, and I will look forward to reading about your progress.

  12. J. M. - Thank you so much for such a beautiful compliment; I am truly honored. I also look forward to reading your blog during the coming year and hope to learn more about how to research one of my "weak" areas from it.

    GrannyPam - Thank you so much, and my same wishes for you! Let's hope that we at least have fun pursuing these goals, even if we don't accomplish every last one!