Ah, January... the month of good intentions. The time when we resolve to exercise more, spend less and eat better. And we genealogists don't stop there either: we resolve to better organise our research, work on that brick wall or just spend more time on our own research. And how long do these resolutions last?
If you search the internet for reasons why resolutions are so often broken, many reasons are given. But for me, the most obvious reason is one that I take from my previous career in technology - most of the time resolutions are not SMART. Many people will be familiar with the term, but for those that aren't, SMART stands for Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. A resolution to lose weight is not specific, but to lose half a stone by the end of March is (and is measurable, etc.).
So, this year, I'm not making any genealogy resolutions, but rather setting genealogy goals. And by stating them here, I'm throwing in another way to help make them stick - accountability. We'll meet back here at the end of the year and see how I have done.
So here are my three goals for the coming year for my own research:
- To locate the correct Thomas Elliot (my 5 x great grandfather).
All I have is his name on the baptism of my 4 x great grandfather William. I am fairly confident (see note below) that he never married William's mother and they only had one child. My plan is to compile a list of men with the name Thomas Elliot in the area and then try to work out which of them could conceivably be William's father. This will be time-consuming and I will no doubt be led down blind alleys on this but I think it is the next logical step.
- To locate the birth of my great grandmother, Margaret Hamilton.
Locating the birth of a woman born around 1890 might seem trivial, but Margaret Hamilton is something of a woman of mystery. She might have been born in Scotland or Northern Ireland and her name is exceedingly common. I foresee a few days in the ScotlandsPeople centre looking through all Margaret Hamiltons born around that date and seeing what I can find.
- To scan and annotate all of my grandmother's black and white photographs, and distribute CDs of them around the family next Christmas.
So... those are my 2017 goals. Good luck to all of you out there with your own goals and resolutions. Let's make 2017 a great year.
Note: At this point, I would not say that I have proof that they never married, just compelling evidence that they did not.