After two years of waiting for life to return to normal, I’ve realized I needed to move on from this and get things done I care about.1
I subscribe to Julie Cahill Tarr’s email newsletters and saw she set her genealogy goals for 2022 and got inspired to do the same. Having some trouble getting started, I contacted her and she joined me on the Your Pennsylvania Ancestors podcast to walk me through it. Listen to Episode 63 – Setting Genealogy Goals with Julie Cahill Tarr.
Given how much the world and my personal life here at home keeps changing, I set my goals for the first half of 2022 only. I picked things that are home-based and finishing some projects I started. In June 2022 I’ll do an update to this post based on how things look then and hopefully can do that NARA research trip this summer.
Julie reminded me of an acronym for setting goals, SMART: Specific, Measurable, Actionable (Many say ‘Achievable’ here but as Julie said ‘Actionable’ is better.), Relevant, Time-Bound. I’ll let you be the judge of how I did on making these goals SMART.
1. Finish the Curry Family in Clearfield County Research
The Curry family in Clearfield County, PA is the focus of Season 5 of the Your Pennsylvania Ancestors podcast, May – August 2021. As I began filming those episodes at the end of April 2021 I thought the country was returning to normal after year of covid shutdowns.2 I managed to get in one research trip to Clearfield and Centre counties but didn’t get to see everything I wanted due to ongoing restrictions. I also need access to NARA in Washington D.C. to finish this family’s research.
I am going to write up what research I have completed into a narrative. I want my work preserved and I want all the details captured before I forget them.
- Write the family narrative of Robinson Rober (R.R.) Curry based on the research I completed so far. Length expected around 10 pages. Schedule a 1.5 hour time block each week the next 4 weeks for writing, January 2022.
- Identify potential parents for Robison Robert Curry. Use the FAN Club approach. Schedule 2 hour time blocks for this additional online research time, February 1 – April 30th. Make research requests by mail as needed.
- May – June 2022 complete any on-site research needed to definitively identify parents and update family narrative.
2. Identify the Parents of John Wilmer Using DNA Matches
I started taking formal genealogy courses to help in solving the mystery of who the known orphan John Wilmer, born in 1841 Plymouth Township, Montgomery County, parents were. The family lore is he dropped out of the sky into Conshohocken.3 Three years later and its still unknown. This is my year to get it nailed down; I can feel it!
DNA test results are the last set of records to analyze for John Wilmer. To help, I enrolled in the Research Like a Pro with DNA course run by Diana Eldridge and Nicole Dyer of Family Locket. I’m looking forward to methodically going through my existing research along with the DNA evidence and reaching a conclusion.
- Complete Research Like a Pro with DNA classes February 16th – May 18th using this research problem.
- Write up findings and conclusions by May 30th.
3. Explore My Great Grandparents’ Lives
I think a lot when I’m doing genealogy research. Sometimes I write it down. I rarely share it. The whole sharing my thoughts thing is scary to me. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to be more weird in 2022. I feel like the energy out there is constantly trying to push me into being one thing or another. No thank you! I’ll be weird instead.4
So this goal is related to my weird resolution, and that is to look at the lives of my eight great grandparents and try to live some of their life now. Thinking of doing things like getting rid of my iPhone, not eating anything in a box or bag, limited television watching, and substituting in some ways of living from the past. What are they? Well that is what I’m trying to figure out.
- Share a mini-essay six days a week on the lives of my great grandparents and how I am using what I learned to better live through today’s chaos. Published to a new Twitter account for 300 days in 2022.
4. Help People Discover Their PA Ancestors
I love helping people do their genealogy in Pennsylvania and set goals around it. I didn’t get everything done I wanted in 2021 because I got wrapped in the drama of trying to make sense of the world. I gave that up (See sentence #1 of this post).
Most of these items listed below are 80-90% complete and need some spit and polish to publish them. I also want to make myself more accessible to questions and hanging out with people so look for some Zoom-based opportunities in the newsletter.
- Complete Season 6 episode releases of the Your Pennsylvania Ancestors podcast by February 2nd.
- Share in the weekly email newsletter one part of each chapter of my book draft on Pennsylvania’s vital records January 12th – May 30th.
- Create and launch an online course on research approaches in Pennsylvania by January 30th.
- Create and launch a second online course on researching in Pennsylvania archives by June 30th.
- Complete the member’s area and have consultation time available for one-on-one help and Open Office Hours via Zoom by January 30th.
Those are my four big genealogy goals for the first half of 2022. I’ve got time scheduled in my calendar to achieve them and I am feeling more focused than in 2021 or 2020. What are your genealogy goals for 2022? How can PA Ancestors help you achieve them?
- Add whatever word you’d like with the “this” to match your experiences. 😉
2. Yes, I know the proper way to write ‘covid’ is ‘COVID-19’ but I refuse to give this disease any more prominence than it already has in my life.
3. This isn’t so much lore as a ongoing family joke. John Wilmer managed to start a very successfully dairy farm which he handed down to his children when he died in 1929. Due to changing economics of farming at that time (hello big government programs edging out small farmers), the farm was sold off in small sections and completely bankrupt by 1950 or so. One of my treasure possessions is a milk bottle from Wilmer Dairies.
4. Weird like these footnotes.