A vision is more than a mere goal. Your genealogy vision for the new year is your theme for your genealogy research in the new year. If you have never considered this prospect, think of it this way. Goals are individual things that may be quite random from one another. Choosing genealogy goals can mean your research is all over the family tree, often with no rhyme or reason. A theme, however, is one central focus around which you base your genealogy research; any individual goals you make regarding your genealogy in the new year will be based around this central theme.
So, what are some examples of genealogy research themes?
Some you might want to consider (but, feel free to choose your own that works best for you):
- The family surname
- One certain ancestor
- One certain family line
- A location where an ancestor or family line once lived
- A historical era, and the ancestors who lived in that era (like the Middle Ages or the Revolutionary War)
- A certain set of records (like census records, the census for one year like 1920, WWI, WWII, the Civil War, marriage certificates, birth certificates, etc)
- A special family heirloom
- A type of newspaper article related to genealogy (such as marriage notices, obituaries, birth notices, etc.)
- A project of some kind (like gathering papers to join a lineage society, putting together a genealogy book for publication, starting an online family tree, participating in (or administering) a DNA project, etc.)
- Organizing your genealogy research documents and photos
- Taking a trip to an ancestral town, village, or country
Once you have chosen your theme for the new year, you can choose some individual goals that are related to it to go with it. All of your goals this year with your genealogy will be related to the theme. To help choose your goals, you may want to read some biographies or other books from a particular era or area or check online for available records related to your theme.
Your goals, as related to your theme, will focus on the things you want to achieve within the theme by the end of the year. You can add to or delete goals from your list throughout the list, as needed. You can also reevaluate your theme as you learn more about it through your research.
As genealogists, we must remember that genealogy is more than just a hobby. We are the keepers of the family history, the storytellers, and the stewards of the past for future generations. When you choose a theme for your genealogy in the new year and create goals to support it (and it doesn’t matter how few or many goals are on the list), it pushes you to remember what is really important in the work you do, which is keeping the family stories, achievements, and memories alive for all the future generations to come, farther into the future than you can possibly imagine.