Alt banner image

New year, new research tips :: Megan Gibson’s 2015 (genie) resolutions

Author and researcher Megan Gibson has some timesaving tips to help you get 2015 off to a great start:

The new year is a good time to gather your thoughts and start planning your family tree goals for the next 12 months. You know how fast last year went by? That should be enough to inspire you!

Tracing your family tree is a huge project, but breaking it up into small, realistic pieces will help you make that all-important next step.

NYE revellers in Barrack St, Perth 1929. Courtesy State Library of WA
NYE revellers in Barrack St, Perth 1929. Courtesy State Library of WA

Just starting out? Consider joining your local family history or genealogy society. You’ll discover great resources, not only for your area, but for interstate and overseas research, too. Talking with experienced members about how and where to start can save you valuable time.

For those with a longstanding brick wall, devise a plan of attack. Be specific — what is it exactly that you want to know? What steps do you know you need to take but just haven’t? Have you recently checked to see who else may be researching the same ancestor? They may have had a breakthrough. And if you haven’t started a research log to keep track of where you’ve searched and why, now’s a good time. It’s a timesaver as well as a frustration saver.

If you’re the oldest of your family, have you documented all your family stories, including listing the sources of those stories?

Set short, medium and long term goals. Research away, but find time for learning about new resources by signing up for e-newsletters from your nearest state library or archives, or attending a genealogy seminar.

So when people ask you what your New Year’s resolution is, now you not only have an answer, but a plan to make it happen.

Megan’s Top 3 New Year’s Resolutions 

  1. I will do a “time audit” this week  Do you really know how you spend your time? Keep track of your activities over a few days, and note down how long each activity takes. You could be surprised.
  2. I will phone that long lost relative this month – Everyone seems to have a cousin they haven’t spoken to for years. With the festive season still in the air, it gives you a nice “excuse” to contact them, if you’re feeling sheepish about it being a while.
  3. I will achieve my family tree goals in 2015 – “One day” never comes unless you make it. Make a plan for the year, and commit to it.

 Megan Gibson from Family Tree Time is a freelance writer, researcher and family tree coach. She’s worked as a freelance researcher on episodes of the hit Australian genealogy TV show Who Do You Think You Are?, and her book How To Get More Family Tree Time — Tips for the Time Poor, is available here.

Join our mailing list