Genealogy Resolutions for 2011

The end of the year gets us all thinking about how this year went, what went well, what we could be better about.

As I look toward 2011, I can say that I have had some great learning opportunities in 2010. I expect to have similar ones in 2011, and even more so.

In 2010, I did the bulk of the work on the NGS Home Study Course. I should be finishing that up soon.

I went to the NGS (Salt Lake City) and FGS (Knoxville) conferences, and will be attending both conferences, in Charleston, SC and Springfield, IL respectively, in 2011. While I won’t have an NGS conference in Salt Lake, I will have an NGS Board Meeting there in February, and I hope to get in some research hours while I am there.

I went to Samford in 2010, and plan to do so again in 2011. The mad rush for seats will definitely be on when the course registration opens up.

I will continue to follow the trends in corporate interest in genealogy (Ancestry, BrightSolid), as well as the mass media view of it (NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?”).

Where I plan to focus my attention is in genealogical research trip planning. I am starting to gather tasks in Evernote that I can take with me to Salt Lake, the National Archives and other repositories. Because of the powerful search and saved search functions, I can search for notes along the lines of:

Evernote Filtering

I will also be taking a look at Springpad, which seems like a worthy competitor to Evernote. It has a very appealing user interface, has better control of sharing of items, and some fun-looking integrations with Amazon, GoodReads, Apple Trailers, IMDB, Fandango, Netflix, and so on. When you add something like a book or movie, Springpad suggests text and links about that item, prepopulating everything from links to purchase tickets, to the full cast list of a movie.

There is also integration with Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr to help you import content in (Flickr) as well as share it. They are set up to receive your Delicious tags, since it’s unclear what the future of that popular service will be …

So, I resolve to keep on keeping on. To push forward into learning more about methodology, and more about the records, the history, and the law in the particular locations (Nebraska, West Virginia, Virginia, Sweden), where I find myself doing research. And I resolve to keep myself open to new advances in technology, including seemingly stylistic or usability advances, as the enthusiasms I have for tools like Evernote and TweetDeck today, may be replaced by Springpad or something else tomorrow. And I resolve to strive to maintain enough distance from the technical tools to avoid mistaking the tool for the point, which is progress through a “reasonably exhaustive search” to come to an understanding of genealogical data, to practice what I call “history at ground level.”

Happy New Year!

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