by Delia

When I first started researching, I would make up my New Year's goals for genealogy. Initially, the list was full of "Find great-grandmother's brother's wife's maiden name," and "Figure out what happened to Harry." Those were all great goals, but, really, I was going to work on those anyway. New Year's goals should encourage us to do something different, to make a change for the better in our research techniques, our documentation standards, or our policies about sharing material. So here are a few goals you might want to consider:

Pledge to investigate new information thoroughly, and evaluate the source for authenticity and accuracy.

Pledge to add the new information to your research compilation along with detailed citations that include the source person or document, and where the source is located.

Pledge to submit something of your research to posterity, such as write and submit a well-documented article to a genealogical society journal or scan old family photos to a disk and submit to a historical society or to The Genealogy Center's Family Resources.

Pledge to talk to an older relative and really listen, learning more about his or her life experiences, and record or transcribe what you hear.

Pledge to join a genealogical society. As more and more people are connected only electronically, we are losing the benefits of sharing our research triumphs and failures with others.

Pledge to attend a genealogical conference at least once. Aside from valuable classes and vendors on display at a conference, the networking opportunities and problem-solving discussions are invaluable. Genealogists are among the most friendly of conference attendees, willing to converse with others about various research sources and techniques. Of course, I might mention that the Federation of Genealogical Societies' annual conference, Journey Through Generations, will be in Fort Wayne August 21-24, 2013.

Last, pledge to be on the watch for others who may be interested in researching their family trees, and aid them as they begin. You may be able to introduce a friend to the wonders of family history.