A goal is defined as: “the result which an individual plans to accomplish something”
The goal of every person doing Genealogy is to find and record as many family members, both current and Ancestral, as possible. We strive to find the documents that link these relatives to us and we pray that we can find a photo or two of those we have never seen before. Our goal is to organize all that we do find into some kind of order so that it can be easily understood. For most of us, the end goal is to have an accurate and complete Family Tree to pass on to the next generations.
When I first started working on my Family History I really didn’t give much thought to it. I would go to the Library or repository and find whatever documents I could. I would then write out a “Family Group” sheet on each person and connect the documents to that. When Genealogy sites were finally available on the internet I approached it the same way. I would “snatch and grab” whatever information I could find and add it to my trees. After a couple of years of doing this all I ended up with was a big mess. I ended up having to start all over again. What I realized was, I needed to have a strategy to my Genealogy research.
However approaching Genealogy with a strategy sounds boring. I mean aren’t we supposed to have fun doing research and finding all those hidden treasures? Oh course we are, but sometimes…okay a lot of times, we get off track when we are researching and we waste hours hopping from one Ancestor to another or one document to another without really accomplishing anything and missing vital information. Most people have busy lives aside from Genealogy so the time spent in pursuit of Family History is a precious thing. So let’s look at what a “strategy” really is:
A strategy is defined as: “the method by which the goal is achieved.” While both are geared towards success, the goal serves as the specific aim which inspires individuals to work efficiently while the strategy serves as the pattern, system, or means by which the goal is reached or achieved.
So developing a strategy is basically following a pattern or system that will help you achieve the goal of finding and documenting your Ancestors. This “system” should not be so strict that it becomes a hindrance to your research. It should however include a guideline that you follow so that with each Ancestor you can do a complete search of all the information that may be out there before moving on to the next person. We get so excited over our finds that we just barrel ahead and skip some important information or documents. So by developing your own strategy for your research you can keep on track and accomplish your goals.
I would love to know what strategies you use.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.