I’m not going to dwell on all of the things I could’ve accomplished in 2010. Obviously there’s nothing productive that can come of that. Rather, let’s just focus on how you and I can work together over the next 12 months to make 2011 really count on the genealogical front.
Remember how about a year ago I had pondered whether or not keeping a blog to track my genealogical adventures was even worth it? After giving the issue some thought , I decided not to beat myself up for not making a new discovery every week or month, or even every season. One thing I came to realize was that a project as big as this one has to be broken into smaller tasks.
This year’s epiphany builds on last year’s. Not only do I have to break my research into small projects, I have to actually follow through on them. Now I know this may not seem like such a big discovery, but since the two of us could not get together on this last year, apparently we do sometimes need even the simplest things spelled out for us.
So here goes, 2011: I’m realizing that this genealogy business is just like school for me. Although I had a passion for the research I did in college and graduate school, that didn’t mean I wouldn’t readily pour all of my energies into the arts of procrastination. The rituals of procrastination would last about as long as a deadline was in the distant horizon. Once that deadline moved from my blind spot and locked in step with my every move, I had no choice but to chase it, pick it up, throw it over my back, and carry it to the finish line.
I think that’s what I’ve been missing from my genealogical search – a finish line. Or at least the occasional checkpoint. Basically each little project or task needs its own due date, finish line, or whatever-you-wanna-call-it. I apparently need to invest my time in activities outside of daydreams about frolicking on the beaches of the Caribbean if I ever hope to figure out which of those beaches my ancestors landed on after that one-way trip across the Atlantic.
As a result of this year’s epiphany, I proclaim you to be the year of genealogical accountability. All the tasks that have been rolling around in my head over the last year will now have due dates! Yes. DUE DATES. I’m also realizing that the more I tie these due dates to an actual event that has meaning for someone other than myself, the more likely I am to meet them.
Thanks to Margaret Lewis of the San Diego African American Genealogy Research Group, I’ve been invited to present at the 2011 Discover Your Roots Conference here in southern California. So, 2011, here’s your first assignment:
What: 9th Annual African American Family History Conference
When: March 12, 2011
Where: Los Angeles, CA
Well, 2011, I’d love to tell you more about it but I’ve really gotta run – I’ve got work to do!