Thursday, January 4, 2018

My Genealogy Agenda for 2018

Twins Dorothy & Daisy Schwartz, stars of my new family memory booklet
Building on what I learned in 2017, here's my genealogy agenda for 2018.

1. Keep documenting family history. Throughout the year, I'm going to be writing about ancestors for my relatives and my husband's relatives. I have two specific projects in mind right now (and a third, if I get to it: "Farkas Family in WWII"):
  • "Daisy and Dorothy," a new family memory booklet about my mother (Daisy Schwartz Burk) and her twin sister (Dorothy Helen Schwartz). In the past year, I've located new details about Dorothy's WWII role as a WAC. Also, my niece rediscovered letters from Dorothy written in her 70s, mentioning hobbies such as practicing at the gun range every week with her 9mm Smith & Wesson. Who knew? And this is a great opportunity to share insights about my Mom with the next generation.
  • "Marian and Edgar," a new photo book about my husband's parents (Marian McClure Wood and Edgar James Wood). My sister-in-law would like a hardcover photo book, reviewing their lives, from cradle to grave. I have a LOT of information, thanks to the dozens of photos she's shared with me, plus diaries, interviews, and more. Also, I'm going to draw on 2017 family memory booklets I wrote about Marian and Edgar's ancestors.
2. Continue my genealogy education. For the first time ever, I'm attending RootsTech 2018! So many sessions, so little time. I'm studying the schedule to select my first choice and my second choice session in each time slot. And of course I'll make time to visit the exhibit hall. All part of my planning for learning new research tricks and techniques!

Plus as a member of two local genealogy clubs and the Jewish Genealogy Society of Connecticut, I get to attend so many informative meetings. This year's topics include genetic genealogy, British genealogy, researching online newspapers, genealogy and data security, and so much more.

Another way I'm continuing my genealogy education is by following people and institutions on social media. Currently, my blog reading list stands at 104, including a handful of historical blogs but mainly family history and research blogs. I follow nearly 1,700 Twitter accounts (mostly genealogy but also history and related subjects). And I'm on Pinterest, checking out genealogy posts from time to time. PLUS I'm a member of a couple dozen Facebook groups, groups like GeneaBloggers Tribe, Tracing the Tribe, Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques, and many others, where I learn a great deal by lurking and by asking questions.

3. Genealogy presentations. My 2018 speaking schedule includes a new presentation, "Research Like a Pro!" about how to apply the Genealogical Proof Standard to solve family history mysteries and reconcile conflicting evidence. I'm also presenting "Planning a Future for Your Family's Past" (companion to my book of the same name, available at the NEHGS book store and on Amazon) and the ever-popular, "Genealogy, Free or Fee" about free and low-cost research strategies (and when it pays to pay for documents).

4. Connect with cousins via DNA. More cousins are taking DNA tests, which means I'll have even more DNA matches to figure out. This is the year I'll get down to color-coding my spreadsheet and family tree to understand where the matches belong. And with luck, I'll discover how, exactly, my Mitav/Chazan cousins are related to my Burk/Shuham ancestors! And how my Roth cousins fit with the Farkas family tree.

5. Have fun. For most of my 20 years of genealogy research, the process has been fun and engaging. Meeting "new" cousins brings new joy, and making new genealogy buddies gives me a strong sense of community and shared purpose. The DNA analyses are hard work, I admit. Still, it's deeply satisfying to keep learning new things as I add new leaves to the family tree and bring the family's past alive for future generations. Here's to another great year of genealogy fun in 2018!


  1. I love your plan. :) I'm glad you included having fun because finding our family and especially tracking down the elusive ones is not only fun, it's very rewarding.

  2. Very ambitious and inspiring goals!

  3. I am jealous that you have a relative with letters and diaries to share!

  4. I love following everyone's goals, it helps me with mine. I hope you will be able to show us your color coding plan for the DNA information.

  5. How do you find time to read all those blogs?? Impressive!!

  6. Thank you all for reading and leaving me comments. After wavering, I decided to join the #52Ancestors challenge (again) because I want to revisit some ancestors' stories and focus on particular family mysteries. So 2018 will be even busier than I anticipated. But at the end, I'll know more than I know at the start! So many ancestors, so little time.

  7. Thank you for participating in the Genealogy Blog Party, Marian. Those sound like awesome goals, and I hope you have much success in 2018. Can't wait to meet you in person at RootsTech! :-)

  8. Sounds like a wonderful plan! I have a plan for my 20th year, too. I need to get it in writing. I WISH I was attending RootsTech, but I AM going to Salt Lake City for the first time. I'm attending SLIG in about a week! :)

  9. Your writing projects sound great! Good luck with all your goals this year!

  10. An inspiring list showing a true commitment to 2018! I really like the idea of a family memory booklet & a photobook. I am always playing around with photos looking for new ways of sharing the family's stories & history. A family memory booklet sounds like an interesting idea. Good luck with everything.