Aspirations and goals for 2012: PROWLS

First and foremost, Happy New Year/Happy Hogmanay to my readers. I hope 2012 brings you an abundance of discoveries and excitement in your family history.

Having felt a tad unfocused in 2011, I’ve been giving some thought to want I want to achieve with my family history in 2012. So here it is – my goals and aspirations…maybe they (and you!) will keep me “honest” over the year. I’m hoping my acronym will help keep me focused on these points.


Seems a bit cart-before-the-horse putting this first, but it’s at the head of my list because it’s the thing I most want to achieve. I have a draft history written for my Melvin family which needs gaps filled, research added, and editing done. It’s possible it may even need a re-write as I’m undecided about the style I’ve used….sigh.

A lower-priority “wish list” publication is a small book for my grandchildren about their ancestors.


Somehow in 2011 my research felt like it took a back seat. Did it in reality? I’m not sure, but either way I want to get down and dirty in the records more often in 2012. I’d love that to be in the archives but if that’s just not possible geographically, then it will have to be online or microfilm.

This is the year when I decide whether I do more detailed research on the east Clare immigrants to eastern Australia, and if so, what I do with that. I also need to leave time for evolving research opportunities.


More scanning of documents and (tagging of) photographs … I have lots of “stuff” from pre-computers that I really need to digitise.

Monitoring of what I’m actually doing and staying focused is important also.

Genealogy Program: I’ve mentioned before that family history computer software makes me feel like I’m hobbled. Perhaps it’s time to revisit this attitude and perhaps try a new program in lieu of Relatively Yours which I’ve had for years because of its holistic information approach (atypical in those years). Can’t decide whether to upgrade my copy of The Master Genealogist to Version 8 or try Family Historian.


I much prefer to write up my findings than to put them into a genealogy database. It feels less confining and enables me to add the background story and pictures as well as the data and source references. It also lets me highlight the gaps in my information and where I need to dig deeper.

In an ideal world I’ll keep a running file on each family to which I add. Note, this is my ideal but I’d like to get back into this habit in 2012, with greater clarity and focus.


Once again I plan to do some more Pharos courses while the pound is weak and the Aussie dollar is strong.

I’ll also be following blogs on Google Reader throughout the year to learn what everyone else is up to, as well as listening in to some RootsTech presentations and webinars.


Blogging will be the key component of my sharing strategy in 2012. I hope to continue writing about my own research but thought I might use some of the items from my Beyond the Internet geneameme to highlight different resources (off line and online) and how they’ve advanced my family stories. This may or may not tie in with the new 52 weeks of Abundant Genealogy series by Amy Coffin & Geneabloggers.

My thoughts have been skirmishing around setting up two more blogs: one exclusively for my Dorfprozelten research and one which will be updates and new research on my Kunkel family history since the 2003 publication of Grassroots Queenslanders: The Kunkel family. I’m particularly undecided on the latter and whether it’s best served by being split off from Family History across the Seas.

I’m looking forward to 2012 in the genealogy world and learning and sharing with my online mates.

10 thoughts on “Aspirations and goals for 2012: PROWLS

  1. Good for you for putting Publishing at the top of the list. Make sure it stays there.

    I’m with you on the Pharos goal.

    Hadn’t thought about changing genealogy software before but am finding FTM a bit challenging of late – need to go to a user group at QFHS me thinks to get back in the swing of it.

    More blogs????? I’ll leave that one in your very capable hands !


    1. Thanks for the comments Alex -feel free to remind me about publishing once in a while. My next Pharos course starts this month, I think. A follow up on the enclosure one. Happy researching.


  2. A very thoughtful posting and I liked the PROWLS acronym too. Agree with your top priority being writing/publishing. I have reached the stage when I feel I spend more time writing than researching. I am reasonably happy with my format and style in writing up family histories and have had postive feedback from, friends who i have helped. Your reference to PHAROS has prompted me to enquire about one a course to give me a different perspective on the task. Like you I have dabbled with various software programmes. I I tend to use them primarily to create charts – but they don’t all do what I want from them! Currently using Legacy which is OK but still has some failings – e.g. you cannot edit an individual record at the chart stage .
    I look forward to reading about your progress – good luck!


    1. Sounds like we’re birds of a feather with programs Susan. That’s pretty much what I used mine for -just charts not record keeping. This story is written quite differently from others I’ve done so not sure if it works. I’ll be showing it to a friend this week who has good editorial skills plus is a genealogist, so will see what she thinks. Let me know what you decide to do about Pharos -I’d be interested.


  3. Looking forward to reading all about your PROWL-ings! If there is any way that I may be of help with Clare people that might require a very short hop up the road (25 minutes or so) please do let me know. I wish I was a genealogist and I might be able to get a missing link for you! I so enjoy reading your very energetic posts – thank you for them! With good wishes for 2012.


    1. Thanks Angela…your offer with PROWLING is much appreciated. There may well be something I’d appreciate your help with, including Limerick which I can’t say I have a good handle on. I’ve been pretty lucky with my own Clare mob thanks to oral history.


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