My 3 Words for 2017

I have chosen 3 words to celebrate my genealogy endeavors for each new year since 2013! I must admit that this activity does work well for me (in lieu of New Year’s Resolutions) because it allows me to organize and plan my genealogy research and training for the year in a more meaningful way.

My 3 Words Over the Years

2013: First. Proof. Publish.
2014: Serendipity. Collaboration. DNA.
2015: Preserve. Stretch. Connection.
2016: Personal. Re-do. Believe.

My 3 Words for 2017

My 3 Words for 2017

Share.

The word share reminds me of the Botswana Proverb that says,

All people share the same ancestry.”

I totally enjoy sharing research facts and information with people whether they’re related to me or not. Sharing with others is the reason why I maintain a public family tree at Ancestry.com filled with informative notes, photos, and primary/secondary documents. It’s my hope this information will help others researching the same ancestors I am — find me! But what made research so cool online for me in 2016 was having a few researchers reach out to me for the first time and send information about my ancestors just because they were checking out the surnames in my family tree. Now that’s the type of sharing I want to experience more of in 2017. So get ready people, I plan to share and talk about genealogy everywhere I go!

Involved.

I’ve been involved with family research since 1989. Attending genealogy conferences and workshops online and offline is something I look forward to and plan for each year. But this year my involvement with genealogy will be more personal than ever before. I’m the newly elected Assistant Secretary for the Willie Lee Gay – H-Town Chapter for the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. I’ve been a member of the H-Town Chapter for two years and have benefitted greatly from this organization. So I felt it was time for me to get involved and give back to a group that has been helpful to me in a major way.

Learner.

As the Swahili Proverb goes —

Where there are experts there will be no lack of learners.

When it comes to genealogy, I am a life-long learner who pursues this field for pleasure and accuracy. Anyone who has spent time shaking down their family tree knows that genealogy involves problem-solving skills that require the use of sources from a variety of fields and disciplines (i.e. business, legal, medicine, religion, governmental, etc.) It is the accuracy that I desire most of all with my research. As a result, I will forever be a learner who will continue to seek out experts for their guidance and help!

Care to join me in this Activity?

Feel inspired to choose *three* words that would help focus your goals and efforts with your family research this year? If yes, what three words would you choose? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section of this post. But more importantly, I wish you Happy Ancestor Hunting throughout this year!

My 3 Words for 2016

Since 2013, I have chosen three words to kick off my genealogy endeavors for the New Year. I credit this “three word” exercise to Chris Brogan who has challenged business bloggers for the past ten years to “replace resolutions with something a bit more useful” and attainable. I’ve learned so much about myself as a genealogy hobbyist and about my family from a historical perspective because of the “three words” I’ve selected each year!

My 3 Words Over the Years

2013:  First. Proof. Publish.
2014:  Serendipity. Collaboration. DNA.
2015: Preserve. Stretch. Connection.

So without further adieu —

My 3 Words for 2016 are . . . 

Personal. 

One of the first steps we share in the genealogy process is — record everything about “yourself” and members of your immediate family. Even though I have dates and milestones about my life documented in my files, what’s missing are the personal stories I want future generations of my family to know about me when I’m an ancestor in the tree one day. Therefore, I plan to add personal stories about my life in my files and share some of them on this blog this year.

“Go-Over.”

Family and friends who follow this blog know that I’ve been on a blogging hiatus for the past two years. Why? Life! Yes, the daily grind of life and tending to the needs of an aging parent took priority over any free time I had for research blogging. As I turn my attention to blogging again, I find a “go-over” is a must! What exactly is a “go-over?” It involves a careful review of all research I’ve completed to date. Being away from my files for a couple of years gives me an opportunity to “go-over” everything step-by-step with a fresh pair of eyes. I will be looking for any inconsistencies and mistakes I may have made or missed. This will allow me to update my research with new information that may not have been available for various ancestors when I first worked on their branch of my tree.

Believe.

I believe in my research. And the best part of all is that my family believes in my research too! I have a few history buffs in my family. So when I’m stumped by research leads or information I’ve found, I’m so glad to have family members willing to help me put facts and turn of events in order so that I’m able to move my family research forward. Their knowledge of our ancestors and memories of the past have been the support I’ve depended on through these years!

My 3 Words for 2014

Thanks to Chris Brogan, CEO of Human Business Works, I adopted a new tradition last year that involves choosing 3 words that would be the action steps I take in my genealogy endeavors for the year. My 3 Words for 2013 were — First. Proof. Publish. 

What went well in 2013?

  • I was very successful in creating those “First” experiences here at Claiming Kin! Adding the “New Here?” page to my blog definitely made everyone who surfed in feel welcomed into the family and given a reason to stick around and connect with me. Therefore the engagements and discussions I had with newly found cousins (online and offline) and visiting researchers who thought the lives of my ancestors were fairly intriguing enough to want to know more about them was — PHENOMENAL!
  • Providing valid “Proof” of my family connections in my research process and citing my sources (APA Style) definitely played a major part in why I had active engagements and discussions here throughout the year!

What didn’t go well in 2013?

  • I didn’t get to “Publish” the eBooks I wanted to. BUT, one of my eBooks for “the beginning genealogy hobbyist” is in progress now. If all goes well, the e-book will be ready Fall 2014 . . . woo-hoo!

My 3 Words for 2014 are:

Serendipity.

I believe Lawrence Block, a popular American crime writer, said it best when he penned —

Serendipity. Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you’ve found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for.”

I cannot begin to list all the “unexpected” discoveries I made about one ancestor while searching for another last year. Therefore, I want more of those experiences! But for that to happen, I must remember NOT to make assumptions about any of the resources and records available, online or offline, because I don’t believe my slave ancestors would be found in them. I must explore ALL resources and records with no preconceived ideas about what I will, or won’t, find in them. Genealogy, in a nut-shell, is problem-solving work. So as I go about reconstructing the lives and identities of my ancestors this year (and beyond), I want some serendipity thrown in there for good measure . . . for without it there would be no cool surprises waiting for me along the way!

Collaboration.

Slave Ancestry is challenging work and to fully understand the process requires that I have knowledge about the African Diaspora and the slave experience in America! One thing my association with the African American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research Group (AAGSAR) has taught me is how necessary “active” collaboration with like-minded researchers is to my slave research success! Collaborating in this grassroots group has allowed me to help some incredible new family historians with their research, as well as, learn strategies for moving my slave ancestry work “back” beyond the 1870 census. AAGSAR is an interactive genealogy community I’m proud to belong to and more collaboration at this level is a MUST for me!

DNA.

I believe the time has come for me to learn how to use my DNA data (and my brother’s recent Y-DNA data) to expand my family research! There has been a lot written about genetic genealogy last year; a number of  advancements in this area of study has made it possible for me to decide if I’m related to others with the same surname and to identify my geographic/ethnic ancestral origin. But my real inspiration for wanting to learn how to use my DNA data comes from closely observing the family connections AAGSAR members Kristin Williams, True Lewis, Maurice BellTeresa Vega, and others in the group have blogged about because of DNA testing.  I want to learn as much as I can about this field so that I can use my results to enhance my experience with relatives. Yes indeed! I’m ready for all my genetic testing has to offer!

Have you set some genealogy goals for yourself this year? Yes?! No?! Feel inspired to choose *three* words that would help focus your goals and efforts with your family research this year? If yes, what three words would you choose? Let me know your thoughts, but most of all Happy Ancestor Hunting to you this year!