My 2010 Genealogy Aspirations Review

31 December 2010

On 28 December 2009 I posted my New Year Genie Aspirations for 2010 and on 9 July 2010 I did a mid year review of those resolutions where I found that I was not keeping up with my ambitions for the year. After July my year was even busier so it is interesting to review my aspirations again at year’s end.

  • Maintain my health and fitness program so that I will have the energy and strength to do the next 9 items.

In retrospect I probably needed the energy up front to maintain a health and fitness program so this needs to be carried over to 2011. I find it so easy to be ‘seduced’ by my laptop and hours slip by before I realise – so more motivation and reminders are necessary.  I think regular ‘get up and move away from the laptop’ reminders in my calendar might be a good idea and scheduling exercise sessions like I used to when I worked full time.

  • Start using my new digital recorder and get Mum’s memories of her grandmother before it is too late.

This was a good idea but every time I tried to get Mum to talk about her grandmother, she would get teary with the memories and then tell me  I was upsetting her. So I need another plan for this goal. In 2011 I also want to gather some of my partner’s stories of his parents and I do use the recorder to rehearse genealogy talks so that I keep within  time and the talks make sense, although it is odd listening to one’s own voice. It never sounds like me!

  • Scan my old photos, identify them and share with the family.

Yes I have done some throughout the year but nowhere near what I thought I would get done. This needs to be more managed – I suspect with scheduled sessions in the calendar on a regular basis. Nothing like performance measures to get you motivated – perhaps I am missing full time work??

  • Conserve and preserve family heirlooms discovered during my recent stay at Mum’s including both my parents’ 21st birthday keys and cards, Dad’s first love letter to Mum (both aged 12 at the time), her wedding dress, my first pair of shoes, photos and other documents.

Apart from finding these precious items and rescuing them from the back of Mum’s cupboards, this has not progressed at all. Another case of scheduling the work and then doing it!!

  • Work with my other Johnston family members to finally sort out the Johnston Clan from Knockbride, County Cavan.

We started with good intentions but then we all got so busy with normal family life that this hasn’t progressed much at. It is hard trying to work with others and finding a time when everyone is available to do something. We will maintain an informal network and keep each other up to date of any exciting finds.

  • Finalise my draft of the Price family history in time for my mother’s 76th birthday.

More progress made but didn’t make her April birthday deadline so now aiming for her 77th in 2011.

  • Start a website for my family history research.

Apart from looking at other family history websites and finding out about suitable software, this hasn’t progressed. Instead I put a My Families page on this website as an interim measure. I think this will probably have to wait until I have some more spare time, although that never really seems to happen. Might be a case of ‘just do it’!

  • Continue to inspire and assist others with their family history research.

At last one resolution that I can honestly say I have achieved. Throughout the year I gave dozens of genealogy talks at various venues/events throughout Australia and New Zealand and I know from feedback that attendees have followed up on whatever the talks were about. I have also written various articles and guides which are also popular and again feedback informs me that researchers are learning and benefiting from what I write.

I have also continued both of these but perhaps not as regularly as I originally thought. A weekly blog was something that I thought I could easily manage but some weeks seem to slip by and I swear I don’t know where the time has gone. A small confession – some of that time goes on Twitter @HicksShauna but I have learnt so much over the year from links shared by Twitter friends that I don’t regret it. During the Unlock the Past history and genealogy roadshow in November I somehow managed a daily blog of each roadshow which was read by over 1000 individual people which still amazes me. It gave me a much greater appreciation of Dick Eastman’s daily newsletter!

  • Stay focussed, organised and enthused  and open to all new possibilities in my family research travels!

Well I am definitely still as enthusiastic about family history as I have ever been, perhaps even more with some of the interesting records now coming on line. It is much easier to search and find people in records like BDMs, census, post office directories, electoral rolls and so on. I really should be more focussed and just do one or two families at a time but I get excited when new records are released and often go off on tangents. I try to stay organised but sometimes the reading pile gets too high along with the filing pile and the to do lists are way too long but it is still great fun.

As well as the above, I did lots of unplanned things that just came up over the year and I think when we do new year aspirations we should allow for spontaneous and unexpected events changing our priorities. Now that I have reviewed my year, it is time to think about what I hope to achieve in 2011 with regard to my family history. Stay tuned.


Shauna has been tracing her own family history since 1977 and is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society. In 2009 Shauna received the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO) Services to Family History Award for her achievements in Queensland, Canberra and Victoria.

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1 Comment

  1. A busy year with lots accomplished – Well done.


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