Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 and 2011: Review and Preview – 101st COG

The topic for the 101st edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is: My genealogy research/writing plan for 2011. Figure out what you think you can accomplish in 2011 and write it up on your blog.

Well. This is more serious than New Year’s genealogy resolutions, which I usually just break, anyway. To tell the truth, I took a peek at last year’s resolutions, and that actually helped me to formulate a plan, because I can see where I tend to fall short and what kinds of resolutions actually get done. And there is a second phenomenon at work here: Last year’s work and accomplishments determine and create many of this year’s to-dos.

For instance, one of my accomplishments last year was to take my first genealogy research trip (which, significantly, was not on my resolution list or in my plans – it was a spur-of-the-moment thing after my cousin got in touch with me). It was very successful, which meant that my cousins and I found a lot of material. Now recording, analyzing, and exploiting that material has to be one of the main tasks on my research and writing plan for 2011.

I saw from my 2010 resolutions that I am very weak at the transcription thing. This is a necessary chore – as in, I have to do it but it is not going to be a lot of fun. Part of my writing plan is going to be to use the Amanuensis Monday/Transcription Tuesday prompt to keep me on track with transcription. Another writing resolution was to do more research-related posts – this will be the other part of my writing plan.

I carried out the resolution for finishing inputting information on the Joseph Madison Carroll Norman family, but have only made a bare start on the Hiram Brinlee, Sr. family – this must get done this year. I did more work on my Lizzie Smith brickwall, but almost nothing on the Elisha Lewis-Rosannah Dalrymple family.

Yet another resolution was to take advantage of my Footnote subscription – I did that fairly well and have to continue, primarily in digging up everything I can on my 4g-grandfather William Lewis’ Revolutionary War record so that my husband can use it to find out more about his time as a British prisoner. And there is a parallel this year – I now have a Genealogy Bank subscription, which has proven very useful and needs to be used consistently in my research.

Another “unplanned accomplishment” was the progress that was made on Floyd family research. Much of this was due to a “cousin ex machina” e-mail from a distant cousin that contained invaluable information on George Floyd’s family and scans of family letters. This spurred me and my Dallas Floyd cousins to do more research, which resulted in pages of court transcripts and newspaper articles … that have to be transcribed and analyzed. Again, unexpected progress was made but resulted in more work to be done.

My first resolution was to make time for my research and writing, and that will be critical to the success of my research and writing plan. Part of the solution is to make more efficient use of my time. For example, earlier this year I tried to carve out more research time by making my Follow Friday posts (which are, admittedly, pretty time-consuming) more of an occasional thing. So when I started using the early evening hours for research instead of working on the post, I realized that later in the evening I am too tired to do research, anyway, but could still summon up enough concentration to use that time to read and write about blogs. Thus, a compromise was achieved that served both research and writing goals.

I am also hoping to find extra research and writing time without compromising family time (i.e., we all sit in front of the TV with our laptops in front of us – yes, it is family time because we definitely do talk to one another while we are doing this – what can I say, we all have short attention spans in this family). My hope here is that the new MacBook Pro that my husband bought me for Christmas will enable me to do this. While we are on this subject, does anyone out there have any suggestions for syncing Reunion databases on two computers? I tried looking up solutions online, but so far have found only outdated information on this subject.

In brief, my 2011 genealogy research plan boils down to this: consolidation and filling in the gaps for my family lines to the great-great-grandparent level. For my great-grandmother brick wall, this means taking the research as far as I can (without a research trip) to find her parents. I would also like to get inputting on my Ancestry trees caught up to what I have input on Reunion, since these trees have actually turned out to be useful in my research.

The writing plan will consist of two parts: (1) transcribing the tons of documents and newspaper articles I have acquired and posting some of them on the blog, and (2) blogging about research projects and results. And finally, to serve both ends, I need to find more time, make better use of the time I have, and take full advantage of my paid subscriptions such as Footnote and Genealogy Bank.


  1. Good idea about evenings with laptop and tv. That's what's passing for quality togetherness here, as well. I'm going to try and do my blog reading/commenting then.

    Keep us posted on the finding time. I could use a bit of that myself.

  2. sounds like a plan. hope reading yours will inspire me to do mine. i've been so busy with live family this week i've been neglecting the dead.

  3. This sounds like an ambitious plan, Greta, and one that will certainly help you make great progress. I agree about transcriptions. The documents are exciting to find and interesting to read but not much fun to transcribe. If you discover how to find more time, please share it with the rest of us!

  4. Good plans, Greta! I really like the one about focusing on transcriptions; that's a weak area for me, too.

    Regarding syncing Reunion on two computers - I don't use DropBox (yet), but I understand that is exactly what it does. Dear Myrtle wrote a great how-to post on getting started a few weeks ago.

    Good luck in 2011!

  5. Thanks, Greta, for jazzing my inner writer and genealogists/

  6. Greta I love reading your blog. You have a way of putting organized action into words. I relate on many levels. Thanks.

  7. Always a pleasure to read a post by an obviously obsessed genealogist. I'll check back here again :)

    J at Cow Hampshire

  8. NR - I'm still working on that finding time thing. But it has been busy around here....

    Kristin - Yup, same story here ... I'm sure we'll both get a few quiet moments eventually.

    Nancy - I still haven't started my transcription plan, but am hoping to get started within a week.

    Tonia - Glad to hear I'm not the only one with this confronting me!

    Joan - You are so kind - you are one who inspires all of us; I just wish I had your focus.

    hummer - This is so wonderful to hear, especially from someone who writes such great stories week after week.

    Janice - It's so nice to finally "meet" you after hearing so many wonderful things about you - thanks for dropping by!