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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