Friday, December 31

Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch* : My 2011 Genealogy Research & Writing Plan(s)

Image by footnoteMaven

Jasia @ CreativeGene presents the Carnival of Genealogy, no. 101: Your 2011 Genealogy Research/Writing Plan

Call for Submissions! The topic for the 101st edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is: My genealogy research/writing plan for 2011. Figure out what you think you can accomplish in 2011 and write it up on your blog. Then share it with us in the COG! Given this topic choice, there will be no limit on the number of submissions for this edition. The deadline for submissions is January 1, 2011.

I like lists - lists make the world go 'round.  Lists and plans go hand in hand.

Unfortunately for me, I tend to make lists (and plans) on scraps of paper and then subsequently lose said scraps.  Which is why I also tend to write notes on my hand - which works well in theory (I can't lose my hand!)...until I wash my hands, that is.
The Proof: Work list from yesterday, including "Single hole punch", "3.00 Sat" [we're going to "The King's Speech"], and the remains of "ping-pong balls" [for a children's programme]
I am utterly incapable (unless it's on my hand, in which case I am forced by space to contain myself to one-to-three word descriptions) of writing one-sentence goals. My brain and my fingers refuse to comprehend that such lists could (and probably should) be so short. Therefore, feel free to skim (I won't be offended - I know I write too much!), as I present my "2011 Genealogy Research & Writing Plan(s)."

Being the practical soul that I am, I've divided my list up into five categories:

I. Research:

i. Join LCGS
The Lanark County Genealogical Society is an independent local society based in (obviously) Lanark county, Ontario, Canada. Though most of my ancestors settled in neighbouring Carleton and Renfew counties, I do have a few lines in Lanark. And at $20 for the year, I can afford the membership fee (unlike the OGS...)
ii. Acquire Census Records well as civil registrations (as available), for all direct-line ancestors. Due to previous haphazard organization (I'm getting better - see point iii, below), I have some as photocopies, some as pre-printed forms, and some in miscellanous notes.
iii. Become Organized
Ahem...I have a plan, now I just have to stick to it!
iv. Create "Research Dates"
I want to visit the Archives of Ontario (I haven't been to their lovely new building yet) in Toronto at least 3 - 6 times in 2011. (It's not far away - only about 2ish hours by public transit - but it's time and money that is the issue.) I also want to visit the local Family History Centre (I've never been - bad genealogist! ;) as well as (now that the renovations are finally complete!) once more becoming a regular microfilm user at the McLaughlin (and the main) branch of the Oshawa Public Library (I wanted a reader at the branch where I work, but they didn't go for it :(
v. Review Research Plan
I plan to regularly review (and edit, as necessary) my overall research plan. I also plan to draft individual and surname plans, so I am better able to direct my research time (and money).
II. Education:

i. Subscribe to FC
Money is limited (especially at this time of year), but I would like to subscribe to "Family Chronicle" magazine. It's one of the few general genealogy periodicals (outside of genealogy/historical society publications) that I've found which includes Canadian content.
ii. Attend OCAPG Seminar
...with Elizabeth Shown Mills at the North York Central Library (Toronto) in April. My first genealogy seminar! ;)
iii. "Reading Research"
I am a dedicated bookworm as well as a genealogist - and luckily for me, one of my favourite genre's to read is non-fiction! My "reading research" goal includes (but is not limited to) reading a book a month (therefore 12 books) on a different topic, which contributes to my genealogy knowledge base.
iv. French Language Course
Despite living in an offically bilingual country, my French (and high school French at that) is extremely poor. I'm hoping to remedy that this year, by either taking a formal French language (beginners!) course, or informally learning on my own.
v. Online Genealogy Course(s)
I would also like to take an online-based (and hopefully free) genealogy course...any suggestions?
III. Community:

i. Volunteer as a FSIndexer
I just signed up this month, and now I need schedule blocks of time to actually commit to this project.
ii. Comment More!
I don't do enough commenting! I do read everyone's blogs/sites, but my commenting skills are sadly lacking. Therefore, I plan to comment more in the coming year.
IV. Writing:

i. Set Up A Posting Schedule
I plan to sketch out a posting schedule for my blog, including both weekly theme topics as well as "individual" posts. Obviously, I can't schedule everything (life wouldn't be any fun then, would it? ;) but it will at least give me a rough draft of where my blog is heading...and where I want it to go.
ii. Blog Regularly
I want to continue participating in the weekly themes (Tombstone Tuesday, Wordless Wednesday, my own Tabloid Thursday, 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy) as well as blog about other, non-theme-related genealogy topics. (I just have to figure out what those are going to be - see point i. above!)
V. Diversions:
(i.e. Hobbies other than Genealogy - yes, there are some... ;)

i. Keep Writing!
I've been scribbling stories ever since I was a teenager - I have papers, books and binders full (a mountain that rivals the genealogy one!) of beginnings, endings, middlings [is there such a word? ;) ], character outlines, plot outlines, and so forth. I don't have a problem writing - my problem lies in actually completing a story! Therefore, I have two projects I'll be working on in the coming year: 1., an informal "round-robin" that I'm writing with two friends (which I need to stop taking so seriously and just write!); and 2., my sort-of-have-a-plan-and-sort-of-don't "blog story" Bonnets and Bolts: The Journal of Lucretia Stern (for which I need to do some Victorian research - thus helping to fulfill point no. II.iii. above!).

My biggest issue, however, is that my best writing is done in the mornings (I'm not very disciplined, I know) after a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, there is that pesky work thing plus the fact that I like my sleep (and thus like to sleep in). Sacrifices, sacrifices. (Can you tell I have no little ones ;)
ii. Stitch Regularly
A couple of times a year (usually in the summer), I break away from everything else and immerse myself in the world of cross stitching. I've been stitching ever since I received a kit for my 16th birthday...but as with writing, I tend to start projects and rarely finish them. (My internal stitcher has a nasty habit of exclaiming "Oh, shiny!" and making me drop whatever I'm working on at the time to pick up the new (and shiny!) project...that's my excuse, anyway! ;)

So my goal is to finish something...large or small, I don't care. But something will be completely stitched and finished (framed or otherwise) by next December.
iii. Miscellaneous
* Contribute monthly to the OSPCA
* Save money (this is a plan from last year, but several roadblocks in the fall made this I'm hoping to get everything back in order come the spring)
* Take up swimming again (the pool is a dozen steps away from work, so what's my excuse!?)
If you've made it this far (I warned you), thanks for reading! I love reading what others are planning (or evaluating last year's plan) and can't wait to see all the CoG entries!

Have a safe and happy new year! See you on the other side...
Jenn ;)

* From a quote by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900): "People who count their chickens before they are hatched, act very wisely, because chickens run about so absurdly that it is impossible to count them accurately.”


Kathy Reed said...

Some of our plans overlap. I can't wait to hear what you think of Elizabeth Shown Mills. For Christmas, I got a copy of her book, Evidence Explained. One of my resolutions is to try to do a better job of citations. I hate doing footnotes and citations.

I'm also planning to attend the state genealogical conference the end of March -- a first for me.

Happy New Year, Jenn.

Greta Koehl said...

An excellent list. I also have that problem that my best writing is done in the morning - when I am at work, so most of my blogging gets done at a time - the evening - when I am not so sharp. Wishing you success in accomplishing these goals in 2011!

Jenn said...

Hi Kathy:

Hope you New Years' came in with a bang! ;)

I have ESM's first book, "Evidence" (which I am constantly misplacing) and I am trying to get my hot little hands on a copy of "Evidence Explained". I'm looking forward to the seminar!

You'll have to let me know how the conference goes! Is it a weekend thing? Or just a day?

And Happy (Belated) Wedding Anniversary! Jenn

Jenn said...

Hi Greta:

Good luck to you as well!

I find I tend to write a few of my posts on Sunday mornings (those I don't work, of course) and schedule them for the week - I love blogger's "schedule" feature! ;)


Lisa Wallen Logsdon said...

Yeeks...your "ii. Stitch Regularly" may have inspired me, LOL! I used to do cross stitch years ago when the kids were napping so I'd have something quiet to do. I adored it. Haven't done any stitching in 20 years now, maybe more, and have often thought I'd like to do it again. project (just one!) couldn't rob me of too much time could it?

Jenn said...

@Lisa: One project - that's what I figure! ;)

Janice said...

Ohhhhhh, smacks self in the head. We can write on our HANDS!!!! :)

J at Cow Hampshire

JenS said...

A lot of your plans sound very similar to what I wish I could do but I just have to say that a as a fellow cross-stitcher - as well as a fellow Jen(n) - I have found the only way I can avoid Oooh Shiny Syndrome is to do most of my projects as gifts to others. This includes 13 birth samplers for all my cousins' children as well as my two nieces. (Not my own children, of course, that's too close to doing something for me!) But that's the only way I can be sure to finish pretty much anything, ever - do it for someone else!

Happy New Year!

M. Diane Rogers said...

I might be making notes on my hands too - but most often I have a bus transfer - those work better for me - LOL.
Good luck with all your plans and projects. Look forward to reading your posts this year.

Jenn said...

@J at Cow Hampshire: Hands...and arms ;)

@JenS: OMG! 13 birth samplers! I find I can do small things (like Christmas ornaments) as gifts and actually finish them (and on time!), but larger projects defeat me! ;)

@M. Diane Rogers: I've used bus transfers before! Sometimes it's whatever is in my purse! :)