The Tale of a Genealogist who departed from his 2019 Genealogical Goals


Confession time! When I reviewed my genealogical goals for 2019 I discovered that I had to insert “not done” into my spreadsheet more often than I liked to see. However when I looked closely at the items that I had not done, I discovered that some of them were individual research items that had become less important to me as I moved towards more direct line research. Included were some of the research challenges that are hard to solve like finding the death information for a person who died in Saskatchewan after 1970 but before the online obituary sites began.

My goal to complete and share my Campbell family history floundered when I reached the “insert pictures and create an index” stage. Instead I flipped to working on my Bolton family history and brought it to the same stage. To salve my conscience I shared both drafts in pdf form with other family researchers who had been waiting expectantly for a copy, in some cases for many years.

How did I do otherwise?
On-Site Research
A high point in 2019 was my visit to the Peel County Archives, something that had been a “to do” for quite a while. Being a productive visit in terms of source material brought home didn’t hurt either. I give myself an Acceptable for this part of my goals [overcoming procrastination].

I attended the 2019 Ontario Ancestors Conference in London, Ontario, as well as a number of Branch presentations. I gave five presentations which are always learning situations for me as well. Attendance at more educational webinars than usual was a plus. I give myself an Acceptable for this part of my goals.

Obviously writing the stories of key characters in my Campbell and Bolton family histories occurred. I wrote two Ontario Ancestor blogs a month through 2019 so was able to practice the writer’s craft of write, revise and edit. I wrote a story about two of the people in my family lines affected by World Wars to share with my granddaughter. Lambton Lifeline, of which I am editor, carried a number of my by-lined articles as well. I give myself an Acceptable for this part of my goals.

Personal Research-Something Old [or carried over from previous years] This area was my downfall. Although I did a lot of Bolton family research it was not related to the part of the family who made the trip from England circa 1819 as per my goals. My Cherokee research died at the finding information about potential sources of information point. I give myself a Do Much Better for this part of my goals.

Personal Research-Something New
I did sign up for a subscription to Findmypast which related to wish to research my Boltons, Atkeys, Yelfs, Grapes and Bretts in England. I ordered death records from the General Record Office of England for an Atkey family member and two Grapes family members.

It was my intent to find a research buddy for the purpose of peer evaluation of my research and recording. That did not happen but I did open up sharing with cousins even more. The last part of December [and into January 2020] saw me share my family histories and research material via my shared Dropbox accounts with those cousins. I give myself a Credible But Do Better for this part of my goals.

I maintained my role as the author of the Ontario Ancestors Blog and as the editor of Lambton Lifeline, the newsletter of the Lambton County Branch of Ontario Ancestors. As well I was part of four presentations to or for Lambton County Branch. I chuckle when people ask me, “What is the benefit of belonging to Ontario Ancestors?” My response should be “How much time do you have to listen?” I have been woven into the “fabric” of Ontario Ancestors for some 30 years now and cannot consider not being a part of The Society.

I enjoy being an Ambassador for Ontario Ancestors and wear my branded shirts with pride. “Rubbing shoulders” with keen, active members is a delight and helps to infuse me with the desire to continue on my genealogical quests.

So I can hear the comment. Campbell is as anal about his goals as he is about source citations. For me the goal analysis process is a good one. As I age [in my 8th decade] I feel it is important that I plan my research and writing time well so that the legacy I leave my family is a worthwhile one, readable and interesting family histories or stories.

I hope 2020 brings all of you success in your genealogical research.
Alan Campbell
Ontario Ancestors
© 2020
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