In January, we at Family Tree Magazine typically note an uptick in family history interest, perhaps a result of holiday nostalgia and family get-togethers.
If you’re feeling inspired to preserve family memories or kick your genealogy research into a higher gear, we suggest making (and keeping) a few of the following resolutions in 2014.
You could resolve to:
- Scan old family photos and other mementos, and share them with relatives. Be specific—resolve to scan one item every Saturday, for example. How to Archive Family Keepsakes has instructions for digitizing and organizing old photos and other family treasures.
- Set up a genealogy research log and to-do list database using a cloud service such as Evernote or Google Drive, and faithfully maintain it to streamline your genealogy workflow.
- Organize your records—on your computer and in your file drawer—in a way that makes sense for the way you research. Schedule 30 minutes once a week or once a month to file accumulated papers. (For serious assistance, consider our Organize Your Genealogy Independent Study Course Download.)
- Finally call great-aunt Betty and ask to talk about your family history.
- Pick a family and, for each place they lived, run a place search of the Family History Library online catalog. Records that are digitized on the free FamilySearch.org will be linked. Otherwise, order promising film online for viewing at a nearby FamilySearch Center.
- Commit an hour or so a week to volunteering for a records indexing project. Try FamilySearch Indexing or Ancestry.com’s World Archives Project, or see if your local library or historical society could use your indexing assistance.
- Join a genealogical society for your hometown or for a place where your ancestor lived.
- Reach out to other genealogy researchers online through genealogy message boards, blogging, posting an online tree, or using a social networking site such as Facebook or Google+. If you find someone with common research interests, propose a research collaboration.
- Start a family history tradition: Institute an old family recipe night, for example, celebrate an ancestor’s birthday, or make an annual day trip to the family hometown.
- Start writing your family history. Take it one ancestor at a time. Our intensive eight-week Write Your Family History online course will get you well on your way, or start smaller with the prompts in our digital download.
It would be a lot to keep all of these resolutions, so think about what you really want to accomplish this year.
Once you make your resolutions, you’ll find the how-to help you need to follow through in Family Tree Magazine and at Family Tree Shop, and you can post genealogy questions to our Facebook page or email them to me.