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Ring in the New Year with Some Genealogy Goals

I'd like to welcome our new guest blogger, Marian Pierre-Louis. You know Marian from her webinars and her blog, and now you'll get to hear from her more often as she writes here for our Legacy News blog. Her first article below is a great one! Here's Marian....

MarianPL-100The New Year is upon us and that's a time when people make resolutions. I don't bother with resolutions because they are usually related to things I don't want to do and which I will have a hard time achieving. Instead, I prefer to set goals for things which I love to do and want to become better at. My number one love? Family history and genealogy.

You've never considered setting goals for your genealogy? It's just a hobby after all, right? That's true but it's an important activity that can help you leave a wonderful legacy to your family members and descendents.

Following are some topics you can consider for your genealogy goal setting.  Choose from one or all of them depending on your time availability.

I watched the Legacy Family Tree webinar "FamilyRoots Organizer System" by Mary Hill a few months ago. Organization is an area where most of us need help. Mary has outlined an excellent system for organizing records and documents. The system can even extend to photos and electronic files. Getting organized allows you to easily and quickly find genealogy information. It also means your descendents will be able to embrace your life work quicker and preserve it better. Since not one organizational system works for everyone, get ideas from past articles in this Legacy News blog here.

Do you have a pile of old photographs lying around in a box? Make 2012 the year to scan and digitize those photos. Digitizing photos is important for genealogical research. First, it helps preserve the photos. Second, it helps with your research because as you share, family members will provide you with new information. Don't have many photos of your own? Then hit the road and visit family members. A new portable Flip-Pal scanner will make capturing photos from relatives a breeze. I also see that Geoff is presenting a free webinar on "Organizing and Sharing Digital Images" on February 29. Sign up for this today (free) before you forget.

Genealogy Software
Learning how to use your Legacy Family Tree software is an important part of your genealogy research. The more you understand about the software and its features the easier it will become to use. Set a goal to learn how to enter citations, use the research guidance feature or color code your family tree. Sign up for one of the "Watch Geoff Live webinars" or read his new book, The Official Unofficial Guide to Using Legacy Family Tree. I will working right along with this year as I learn to use Legacy for the first time.

Research Trips
A great way to inject excitement into your genealogy research is to schedule a research trip. Plan a visit to a town where one of your ancestors lived. It can be close by to where you live or it can be a trip to the old country. Either way, seeing the land, houses and environment where your ancestors lived can be emotional, inspiration and fun!

Reaching Out
If you've done a lot of research on your own perhaps it's time to reach out to distant cousins. Make a goal that you will try to locate and share information with unknown relatives. If you've already met some of your distant cousins consider starting a collaborative project where you work together to solve family mysteries. Reaching out can provide just the encouragement you need to further your research.

Don't forget that education should be a part of your goals too. Commit to watching a Legacy Family Tree webinar once or twice a month. Other ideas for education include going to a local genealogy society meeting, attending a regional or national conference or participating in an online study group.

Write Down Those Goals!
The fun thing about annual genealogy goals is that everyone's goals will be different. No one's goals are right or wrong because they are all unique. And what's even better is if you share your goals, other genealogists can encourage you over the course of the year. Some people actually choose a "genealogy buddy" to help them stick to their goals.

Would you like to see some examples of genealogy goals? I have posted mine on my Roots & Rambles blog. Another Legacy Webinar favorite, Lisa Alzo, has also posted her 2012 goals on her blog, The Accidental Genealogist. Here are some example goals from non-professional genealogists as well - Lorine McGinnis Schulze and Sharon Stevens Lighthouse.

What are your 2012 genealogy goals? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below.

Marian Pierre-Louis is a historical researcher who loves to share, encourage and inspire others on their genealogy research journey. You can see her upcoming webinars on Legacy Family Tree and read her blog, Marian's Roots and Rambles. She is the author of Brick Walls: Cracking the Case of Nathan Brown's Parents and Researching Your Connecticut Ancestors.


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