On 2 January 2012 I posted my goals and aspirations for the year under the acronym PROWLS. So what does my report card look like? How did I do? Did I achieve my goals? Well my obsessive self says “not well” while my realistic self says “okay”….but not necessarily at what I intended initially. In fact the acronym should probably be WSLOPR or SWLOPR!
This is another of my epic posts, so don’t feel you have to stagger through it (just read my response to the Accentuate the Positive meme). This post is partly for my own benefit – an opportunity to reflect on what I did achieve, where were the gaps, and what might I do in 2013. Essentially a quality improvement process….<smile>
P FOR PUBLISH: Successes
- 52 weeks of the Beyond the Internet series (over the year the steady digitisation of records became clear as topics increasingly “sat on the fence” between the real and virtual worlds.
- The April A to Z challenge in which I wrote (extensively!) about places we’d lived which had been part of our/my family’s heritage, recent and historic.
- Alona’s Family History Alphabet series: more “off the cuff”, about attributes we need or share as family historians, which generated a fair bit of conversation from my fellow genealogy-obsessives.
- Two Blurb blog-to-books (somewhat tedious and time-consuming): (1) my own personal history, based on the 2011 series, 52 weeks of Personal Genealogy and History and (2) a collection of my other blog posts.
- Rewrote the overseas portion of one of my family histories with a view to potential publication and handed it over for editorial comment, and then let it languish.
- Started my Tropical Territory blog and tried to post either every day or every couple of days –until November when life took over and I lost the faith with it, or maybe just the energy.
- Developed an addiction to Vistaprint, ordering business cards (complete with surname and place interests on the reverse), Kiva T-Shirts, note pads etc etc: I used some of these products to promote Kiva Genealogists for Families throughout the year. (Did I mention I can be obsessive?)
P FOR PUBLISH: Gaps
- My potentially-publishable family history languished at re-writing the Australian component. Solution 2013: refer the overseas component to a friend for further comment and re-kick-start the Australian section.
- The children’s family photo history never got off the starting blocks. I was impressed by Carole Riley’s family history photo books that she showed me at Unlock the Past in Brisbane. Solution 2013: write the text, collect the photos in one place so I’m good to go when there’s another special.
R IS FOR RESEARCH: Successes
- Opportunistic rather than planned out.
- Finding my Gavin family marriage in Dublin!
- Tracking the Dorfprozelten emigrants, and my own 2xgreat grandfather’s step-siblings’ migration to the States….but where did his brother get to?
- Travel in 2012 didn’t leave me much time to get down and dirty in the archives though I did find out more information about my Melvin family in Queensland and helped Mr Cassmob with his Victorian ancestry a fair bit – leaving him lots to do in retirement <smile>.
R FOR RESEARCH: Gaps
It doesn’t feel like I achieved much research-wise in 2012 but perhaps I also need to look again at my papers and notes from early in the year.
I’ve missed the consistent research sleuthing in 2012 so I want to pick that up in more detail in 2013.
O FOR ORGANISE: Successes
- Labelling and sorting some of my non-digital photos and records progressed (is it every fast enough?)….still lots to be done there.
- Following the disastrous loss of my hard drive back in August, I got a new backup system in place, thanks to advice from a friend. This is working so much better than how I used to do it, as I really thought I had all my bases covered, only to discover more time (and data!) had slipped past than I realised.
- My folders and trays are organised (my desk not so much!) but there’s just so much info I need to get across –perhaps I should have done Michelle Goodrum’s 21st Century Organised Family Historian series! Certainly a possibility for checklisting in 2013.
- An organisational tick also for having planned out the Beyond the Internet series and the two A to Zs from the beginning, and following them through.
- Added translation options to my blog, and new statistics facilities.
O FOR ORGANISE: Gaps
I’m still dithering on whether I want to use Relatively Yours, The Master Genealogist or Family Historian though I now have all three on the computer. I still like RY’s ability to cope with “messy” family relationships but I don’t think that it’s had the development money thrown at it that some overseas programs have.
Goal: Increase my use of Evernote for information things I find.
W FOR WRITING: Successes
- This has a big tick as I did a lot of writing this year: 235 posts across the 365 days on this blog and 173 on my Tropical Territory blog, also 718 photos on this blog and 466 on TT (the latter was supposed to be photos only). It was also supposed to be a photo a day but I lapsed big-time on this especially after mid-November.
- While some of my posts respond to themes, others result from some “inspiration” that strikes, usually in the wee hours of the morning or when I first wake up.
W FOR WRITING: Gaps
- I did start two other blogs From Dorfprozelten to Australia and GrassRoots Queenslanders. The problem is that I can’t quite decide if I’m better to keep all my topics in one place rather than try to grow yet more blogs and perhaps not have them shared as widely.
If you have more than one blog, how do you find it works?
L FOR LEARNING: Successes, and decision gaps
- Attendance at a flurry of Darwin talks in early 2012 from various experts – very interesting and with new information.
- Attendance at the Unlock the Past Seminar in Brisbane for a couple of days due to an unanticipated family event. I learnt a lot but perhaps more than anything was delighted to meet some of my geneablogging mates there and at a Kiva gathering early in 2012.
- RootsChat online, blog reading, book reading etc I’ve managed to fit in as much as possible given my distant location.
- Pharos courses which proved interesting (though I’ve yet to decide whether to do a one-place study, and if so whether it should be Broadford, East Co Clare or Murphys Creek, Queensland).
In 2013 I want to learn more about Evernote, Scrivener and other tools to help me be organised.
S FOR SHARING: Successes
- This may be an A+ topic. My blog posts have been well received and I thoroughly enjoy the comments I receive from people. It’s important to me to recognise that others have taken the time to comment so I like to maintain our virtual conversation by replying as soon as possible.
- Since I know how important it is to me to feel like I’m not writing into a vacuum I want to maintain my blog reading and comment on others’ posts on a regular basis.
- It’s also fun to follow the memes that are created or the themed topics that others suggest (Sharing Memories, Abundant Genealogy, Library Loot, A to Z, Carnival of Genealogy, Fearless Females, Saturday Night Genealogy Fun). I find them great ways to see our commonalities but also our differences, as well as document more of our own or our family’s stories.
- Boosted my readership beyond Australia’s shores though Oz remains my main support base.
- Shared my research skills and knowledge by helping a few friends with their own research or their trees, or even just brainstorming things together.
- Talking on “Writing your family history” during Seniors Week was also one of my sharing activities and I was happy to find that people found it helpful.
- On a fun note I participated in two swaps organised by Faith, Hope and Charity, one for the Jubilee mid-year and one for Christmas. Keep an eye out, they are good fun.
- One of the big sharing successes has been the linkages:
- My blog drew in Cass family connections which led us to visit Melbourne mid-year for an amazing exhibition on Mr Cassmob’s great uncle, Brigadier WEH Cass and his wife Helena.
- The blog as a draw-card for the Dorfprozelten families. There are times I’ve felt like a matchmaker extraordinaire and some where I’ve been able to fill in the gaps in family connections and vital data.
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
Overall I’d say it’s not a bad report card. I’m disappointed at my gaps in research and publishing in particular so I’m hoping to address those more in 2013. Also a “could improve” in the Organise heading. Let’s see how the year progresses.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ONE & ALL. May you have health and happiness in 2013 and make many wonderful friends online and make many family discoveries.
Images are from Microsoft Office images online.