Love crossing things off your to-do list? Set achievable goals to reach that feeling of satisfaction.
A few days ago, I polished off one more of my 2018 genealogy goals. While working through that task, I realized something very important:
Setting goals for yourself that are entirely possible will make you feel so much better at the end of the year.
|Set your 2019 genealogy goals with purpose for a better result.
Here's what I mean:
Break It Up
Break big, time-intensive tasks into achievable chunks. Don't put all those chunks on this year's list.
One of my 2018 genealogy goals was "Log Antenati documents into spreadsheet". My "Antenati documents" are thousands and thousands of Italian vital records. I want to enter all the facts from these documents into an Excel spreadsheet. The spreadsheet will make the entire collection easily searchable and shareable.
I can't possibly reach this goal in a year. In fact, the sheer size of the project tended to keep me away from it.
This project is important to me, though. To make it more achievable, I can break it up into chunks.
Goal #1: Log the first five years' worth of birth records from each town into spreadsheet.
When I finish that goal, I may move on to the first five years' worth of death records from each town.
Another of my 2018 genealogy goals was "Find my parents' connection". I discovered from a DNA test that my parents are 3rd or 4th cousins. I basically asked myself to find a needle in a haystack within a certain amount of time.
If your goal involves a ton of research that may lead nowhere, change your expectations. I made a breakthrough on this front in November. (See "The Leeds Method May Have Solved a Big Family Puzzle".) Evidence tells me to look at the last name Pozzuto in the town of Colle Sannita.
I've started adding every Pozzuto baby in my collection of Colle Sannita birth records to my family tree. If the baby's parents aren't already in my family tree, I give them all same profile picture. It's a blue and white graphic that says "No Relationship Established". (See "How to Handle the Unrelated People in Your Family Tree".)
So far I've added babies born between 1809 and 1820 and between 1858 and 1860. Whenever possible, I found the baby's parents' marriage documents. I've built out some unrelated families to the point where they became related to me.
One of these families will hold the key. But I don't know when I'll find that connection, so I have to change my expectations.
Goal #2: Enter every Pozzuto baby from Colle Sannita into my family tree.
The rest of my unfinished 2018 genealogy goals were too vague. They had no specific plan:
- Verify the upstate New York railyard story and the Agostino Sarracino fight story I heard
- Find out Antonio Saviano's position in that Italian-American society
- Figure out my connection to the Muollo in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania
That first one contains two completely different goals (bad idea). They both involve finding out the truth about the flimsiest of rumors. I have done a few newspaper searches, but honestly? I don't have enough information to go on.
Rumor #1 says that my great grandfather and his brothers-in-law moved away from their railroad jobs in New York because of an accident. One of their sons was playing in the railyard without permission. He had an accident and lost some toes.
Goal #3: Find a resource for Erie Railroad documents during the years my great grandfather worked in New York state.
Rumor #2 is even flimsier. It says my other great grandfather's brother Agostino had to leave the Bronx and flee to Illinois. He either witnessed or took part in a fight that may have left one man dead.
Goal #4: Gather every available document of Agostino's time spent in the Bronx to figure out the year he moved to Illinois.
The second vague goal involves a ribbon pinned to the chest of my great great grandfather in his coffin. I learned that the ribbon is from a mutual aid society in which Italian immigrants helped out newer immigrants to America. But I haven't been able to find out any more than that.
Goal #5: Search 1920–1925 New York City newspapers for any mention of the mutual aid society to which my great great grandfather belonged.
The third vague goal is about my great great grandmother Maria Luigia's last name of Muollo. A Muollo family from her town came to settle in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, along with Maria Luigia's nephew. I want to find the exact relationship between the Muollo family and my great great grandmother.
A specific approach to this goal would be to log all the Muollo babies and gather all the documents for the Muollo who came to America. I'll see where that gets me.
Goal #6: Log every Muollo baby born in Sant'Angelo a Cupolo into my family tree, and find all available documents for the one who emigrated to Pennsylvania.
Keep It Interesting
I've listed six genealogy goals for myself in this article. But I'm not sure I'll put them all on my list. I want to keep it interesting, challenging and fun so that I'll do it. Goals #1 and #2 above are definitely going on the list. I'm deeply involved in these now, and I want to see them through.
Goal #6 above is also interesting to me, and I don't think it'll take a lot of time.
But I want to keep thinking about this. I want to add a goal or two that will teach me more about genealogy, or get me excited each time I sit down to work on them.
As you begin thinking about your list of 2019 genealogy goals, remember to:
- Break It Up
- Change Expectations
- Get Specific
- Keep It Interesting
Set yourself up for success and you'll be eager to work toward completing each goal. Happy 2019!