What do you want to accomplish when you do family history?
Have you ever stopped and asked yourself what you hope to accomplish? Probably not. Many people, regardless of how long they have done genealogy, start collecting and researching without any particular goals in mind. It's no wonder that many people become frustrated and give up too soon. Others are addicted to piling up copies of documents that record their ancestor, or potential ancestor,
Before you do anything else related to genealogy, define what your goals are. Begin with the end in mind.
Ask yourself, "Why am I doing family history?" Perhaps it is one of these goals:
- Join Daughters of the American Revolution
- Join a lineage society
- Write a eulogy
- Preserve records when a loved one dies or downsizes
- Collect and share family stories at a reunion
- Prove whether a family legend is true
- Find new names to add to your tree
- Write, or help write, a paper for school
There are hundreds of reasons to do family history, the key is to know what YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH. What is YOUR why?
Once you know that, you can direct your efforts in genealogy better. You obtain the tools you will need to meticulously organize your research to prove that you have a Revolutionary War ancestor. You can build your tree in a free online service and attach things you find interesting because you're just curious. You can focus on digitizing and preserving the photos, documents, and heirlooms as quickly and inexpensively as possible as you process grief or move a relative into a new home.
When you know where you're going, you can start at the right place and work on the projects that will give you the greatest sense of fulfillment. And when you feel fulfilled and accomplish one goal, you will likely set another and another.
So, begin with an end in mind. You'll have a lot more success if you do.
To learn more about setting family history goals or the kinds of tasks you can do, check out my book 21st Century Family Historian.
What are your genealogy goals? What is your why? Leave a comment below.