Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Genealogy Goals Recap

When I set my goals for 2011, I was feeling quite ambitious. Rather than pick a few goals, I went all out and had a bunch of genealogy goals for the year. Despite some setbacks (having to take a break from genealogy after my grandfather passed, financial issues and moving), I still accomplished a lot. Look for my goals for 2012 tomorrow.


Determine who the parents of my great great grandfather James Thomas Hayes are and where he is buried.
I came up with a research plan back in February to work on this goal. When I wrote the post, I had planned to order his death certificate, but life and finances got in the way so I still don't have it. I've done further research since that post and I suspect he is the son of Joseph L Hayes and Mary Ann Brantley. At the moment, I am exploring this theory in a separate tree so if I'm wrong, I don't have to go back and strip out the information. If I'm right, I will merge it into my proven tree.

Determine exactly when my great great grandmother Minnie L Rice Hayes passed and where she is buried.
A cousin recently confirmed that she is buried at Brushy Creek Cemetery, which is where my grandfather had told me. The cousin also gave me a different year of death than I had been told so I'm working on finding a record to back that up.

Determine if Bonnie Lee Radcliff and Lenia Pearl Radcliff were actually twins or if there was an error in the birth records.
After doing some research, which I wrote about here, I'm nearly positive that these girls are the same person and the error lies in the record. I asked around with family members and couldn't find anyone that recognized Bonnie's name.

Determine who the parents of Thomas Vanzandt were as well as his exactly date of death.
It appears that Thomas Vanzandt passed away 2 Feb 1911 and is buried in Evansville, Indiana. This is consistent with his disappearance from records after the 1910 census and where his children lived. I'm still working on his parents, but I did find a couple promising census records that lead me to suspect his father may have been James Vanzandt.

Determine parents of husband's great great grandparents Joseph Koch Sr and Therese Ospelt Koch.
When I started Ancestrally Challenged, I planned to share all of my research, which includes my husband's side of the family as well. However, after thinking about it, I've decided to use this blog for only my side of the family. I have a blog to cover his side of the family in the planning stages now.

If you're curious about the progress of this goal, it still remains open. I found a lookup volunteer in the area of Pennsylvania where they passed and sent a request for their obituaries. She did respond to tell me she had located Therese's obituary and ask if I wanted a copy. I said yes (of course), but that's the last I heard from the volunteer. I even sent a followup email in case the first was lost, but received no response.

Continue transcription project of all vital records for my WV surnames.
Still going.

Look into ordering death certificates for those individuals in my tree that I do not have a date of death or am missing information on parents.
I have compiled a list, but have not ordered any certificates yet.

Look into alternative record sources instead of only census, immigration, military and vital records.
Done. I have explored pension files, probate and wills, and land records.

Visit at least one archive or genealogy library.
I didn't really get to check off this goal. I did, however, explore the genealogy room at the local library. Hopefully, I will be able to make it to an archive or genealogy library in the coming year.

Visit local libraries to see what they have to offer that may be helpful in my genealogy research.
I visited the local public library. The local college also has a library that's open to the community, but after looking through their online catalog, I chose not to visit since they had very little related to genealogy in their collections.


Continue with project to rebuild family tree from scratch adding only those people that I have sources to back up their addition.
Still going. This probably would have been done or at lot closer to being done, but I have shiny object syndrome.

Make sure I have copies of all sources with citations.
Still in progress, but the majority of this is complete.

Make sure all sources I already have copies of have citations.

See if there is a way to do a timeline for the entire family tree with one of my family tree programs. If not, begin compiling one.
I wasn't able to figure out a way to print a timeline for all individuals in my family tree so I'm going through my tree person by person to make one. I know some of the paid versions of genealogy software have this option so I may end up upgrading.

Get all photographs scanned in and labeled.
All photographs that I have in my possession are scanned and labeled. I've also scanned pictures in the possession of my grandmother, mom and mother-in-law. Most of the ones from my grandmother and mom are labeled. I'm still working on labeling the ones I scanned at my mother-in-law's house.

Consistently use my research logs to avoid repeating searches.
This took a while to kick in, but as of September, I am now using my research logs nearly every time I sit down to research.


Write at least three blog posts a week for both of my blogs. One of the three posts here at Ancestrally Challenged can be a daily blogging theme.
This goal was more miss than hit. A few months into the year, I ended up dropping my goal down to 8 posts per month for each blog, or an average of 2 posts per week. There were some months I did manage 12 or more posts, including November when I posted every day.

Participate in a genealogy blog carnival.
Done. I participated in the January Carnival of Genealogy.


Attend at least one genealogy conference.
I attended the Georgia Family History Expo. I wrote about Day 1, Day 2 and the exhibitors.

Take at least six family history-related classes or webinars.
I took Finding Your Ancestors; Google for Genealogists; Timelines, Lifelines; Organizing for Success; and Add to Your Arsenal of Georgia Genealogy Resources. I also joined the US Records Study Group, a 15 month program of study that explores The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy and The Source. If you've been following the blog the last few months, you've probably saw my assignments.

Look into joining a genealogy society.
I compiled a list of all potential genealogy and/or historical societies that I might be interested in. These included the National Genealogy Society, state societies, regional societies, county societies and a few family societies. I eventually decided to join NGS because while the other societies can be helpful in specific areas, NGS can help me in all areas. In the coming year, I will probably add some of the smaller genealogy societies.

Look into professional certification.
I researched the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) and the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGEN). After reviewing their application processes, I don't think I'm quite ready for either one. For the time being, I'm going to focus on improving my skills through education and getting more experience under my belt, especially for those areas I have little or no experience.

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