The start of a new year is an excellent time to update your genealogy research. This year, in particular, is a great time to do some genealogical housekeeping and updating, because we are beginning not only a new year but a new decade. That is certainly worthy of a genealogical once-over and fresh start from a new, more organized, cleaner perspective.
Cleaning up and updating your genealogy for the new year means, primarily, making sure you have properly documented everything that happened in the previous year (and, in this case, the previous decade). Consider what changes have happened in your family in the past decade. What have you documented on your family tree? What still needs to be added? Do you have sources to support any new additions?
It may not seem like a lot has happened, but you could be wrong. When you consider the births, deaths, marriages, anniversaries, and other events that took place in your family during the previous decade, you may come to find that it is actually quite a lot. Each of these things should be added to your family tree and properly documented. Make a list, determine what events you have already added to your family tree, which ones need to be added, and which items require documenting.
Also, take a look at your photos. Many people are posting photos of themselves from ten years ago next to current photos of themselves on social media. Whether or not you do this, too, it is a good reminder to go through all of the photos you have taken in the past decade.
Have they all been properly labeled, including the names, dates, and places relevant to the content of the photos? Have you uploaded all of them to your family tree, an online photo album, or placed them in a physical photo album? These are important genealogy artifacts, so going through them once a year (or once a decade at the very least) ensures you will keep these photos organized and in excellent shape for future generations to enjoy.
Before the events of the past year or decade become faded memories, make sure you have uploaded any new documents you have acquired to the appropriate online programs or databases. Consider any parties or gatherings your family had that commemorated special events, and include those, too.
Remember, you are not only a researcher of the family’s past but a steward of its present, for future generations. You are experiencing history in the making right now. What is present for your family will become family history in just a few generations, maybe as soon as your grandchildren or great-grandchildren. Make sure you have everything in your family tree from the past year or decade that you want them to know about, or believe they (as potential future family historians) would love to know.
If you keep up with your genealogy by doing a once-a-year and once-a-decade updating, you will keep it fresh and clean, as it should be.