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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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