Tag Archives: goals

New Year – New Blogging

2 Jan

Last year wasn’t a particularly good year for me or my blog so thank you to those who stuck with me last year, but what better time than New Year to resolve that I am going to make 2012 a better genealogy blogging year?

It is my intention to return to a daily blogging schedule this year. Time is still going to be an issue so I am not sure that I will achieve an 100% success rate on this, but I need to aim high to stand any chance succeeding.

I need to get more organised and achieve some time savings in the whole blogging process to maximise my time but most of all I need to learn to sit down and write, rather than worrying too much about what I should be writing or what else I could be doing instead.

I want to be tackling some new topics and making it more useful to my readers, in particular I want to make this blog much more Sussex focused. Whether it is news, walking or my own family history I intend to focus more on Sussex, hopefully not to the extent that other English counties don’t get a look in, but much more than I have done in the past.

One of my ideas is to introduce a new category of posts focusing on family history in Sussex, hopefully fulfilling my intentions to make this blog useful and informative. I also want to be writing more about aspects of Sussex history and life, providing more background on the county that was home to the majority of my ancestors and fulfilling my blog’s tagline, Exploring the Lives and Landscapes of my Ancestors.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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My Genealogy Goals for 2010 – How did I do?

30 Dec

About this time last year I wrote a few blog posts about what I wanted to achieve in 2010 and as we are almost at the end of 2010 (and it is a bit late to do any more about it now) I thought I ought to face the music and see if I actually achieved anything I set out to do.

The first post was 2010 to do list – sort my photos and postcards in which I described my wish to get all my photos and postcards organised and integrated into my genealogy software Family Historian.

Pass or fail? Fail – my old photos are slightly more organised on my hard drive now and I now have a process in place for recording and scanning my postcards (but only as new ones arrive) but none of the photos or postcards have been added to Family Historian.

Next up was 2010 to do list – identify my photos and my desire to put some names to the many unidentified photos in my collection and if not names then at least some dates and places.

Pass or fail? Fail – I spent a couple of months looking at one photo, which I don’t think I ever wrote about and didn’t come to any real conclusions, and that was about it. If anything I have probably added more unidentified photos to my collection, although I did manage to discover the location of one postcard this year with the help of Google Street View.

Then was 2010 to do list – spring clean my database which described several goals that I wished to achieve when it came to my database. This was largely about tidying things up, checking for errors and filling in some missing details.

Pass or fail? Undecided – I am actually still working on this at the moment, progress is slow but I am getting there.

After that came 2010 to do list – what to do with wills? in which I described the problems I have with recording all the information that can be found in a will and how I intended to overcome this.

Pass or fail? Fail – Most of the wills I have in my collection have not been fully mined for data, usually I pick out the information that interests me (names of children) and then move on to something else.

With a little irony the next post was 2010 to do list – create a proper to-do list which described my plans to create a ‘super’ to-do list, which would record everything I wanted to do with my family history.

Pass or fail? Pass – I am still using a simple text file as my to-do list and to be honest I am finding this is perfectly adequate for my needs and so simple to use and update.

Then things got specific with 2010 to do list – some actual research goals which listed several of the individuals that I wanted to pursue in 2010, this was quite a mixed bag of relatives and ancestors, all of whom seem to have had an interesting story to tell.

Pass or fail? Fail – Although I did do some work on most of these individuals I never really followed any of these stories through to their conclusion.

Finally came My New Year’s Resolution itself, to start researching my wife’s Italian ancestry. Somewhat predictably this was a major fail. I did buy a book on researching Italian family history and a kit for learning some basic Italian, but these have sat on my shelf largely untouched all year, no progress whatsoever.

In 2011 I think I will keep things a little simpler and more achievable. Most of these goals from last year are still ones I would like to achieve in 2011, but above all I need to be realistic and recognise that I don’t have the time or money (but mostly time) to do everything I want to.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 24

13 Jun

Although most of last week was spent sorting out files and folders, I did manage to do quite a bit of new research as well. This is just what I needed, starting the transition from organising to researching.

Hopefully next week will see the bulk of my organising done. Of course it will never be completely done, as new material will be turning up all the time in need of processing and filing, but at least I have everything in place and a system that should make it easier in future to know where to filing things, and where to find them when I need them.

Most of the research was about the branch of BATEMAN family that grew up in Australia. The pursuit of the descendants of my 2x great-uncle William Joseph Henry BATEMAN is something I will be taking on in the forthcoming weeks. As part of this I want to try and write some posts about what I already know about the family.

In terms of organising, the GASSON surname folder is virtually sorted and that only leaves the GEERING folder to go. It is my intention to get both of those folders completed this week, and by the following week I want to have gone through all the surname folders and make sure everything is as it should be and I will produce a template that will enable me at a glance to see where new information fits into the system.

The amount of new BATEMAN research meant I didn’t get chance to start going through my database and start defining some goals, I would like to try and start that this week, although I don’t expect to complete it. I do however need to decide which projects I am going to be working on next.

One of those projects might involve the WRIGHT/SHORNDEN family of Alton, Hampshire. Having visited Alton last weekend I would like to find out more about their time in Alton. One long term goal is to find out how they came to be in Hampshire in the first place, when they were previously in Kent.

2010 to do list – some actual research goals

31 Dec

Between now and the new year I will be writing about some of the things I want to achieve with my family history in 2010.

So far most of what I have written is about the actual research process and organisation of my family history information, so now it is time to look at some of the people and stories I want to actually find out more about in 2010.

John GASSON – I already know quite a bit about John GASSON my 5x great-grandfather, but there are still a lot of pieces to put together, including sorting out his will and his three wives. Ideally I would also like to find his baptism (around 1715 in Surrey) and identify his parents. Ultimately I want to pursue the GASSON surname as far back as possible to find out where it comes from.

Mercy TROWER – I wrote about my 3x great-aunt before, but haven’t really done any more about finding the missing marriages. Even though see is not a direct ancestor I think it is time I got this troublesome character sorted out once and for all. I going to have to hand over some money for a death certificate and a copy of her will. The death certificate will hopefully give me her deceased husband’s name and that will give me further clues.

William Joseph Henry BATEMAN – This is my 2x great-uncle, who joined the navy and ended up in Australia, getting married and starting a family. I would really like to find out more about him and his family, and hopefully trace some distant cousins down under.

The ALLCORN and EADE families – These two families left Brighton, Sussex for America in the mid to late 1800s, Mary EADE and Hope ALLCORN were sisters, both the daughters of William and Mary TROWER of Henfield, Sussex. Whilst it would be nice to trace some relations in the US, what really interests me is why and how they left England and why did they settle where they did, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

Thomas KINGHORN – My 3x great-grandfather, the tailor from London (although born in Scotland). I still want to piece together more of his life, especially find out where he is buried (I suspect Brookwood Cemetery, Surrey) and what happened to all his children, and why did the family seem so attracted to Brighton.

Thomas KINGHORN – My 4x great-grandfather, the mail coach guard from Carlisle, Cumberland. There is so much I would like to find out about his life, but really I need to try and establish where he was born. I suspect he was originally from down south, probably London, and was only up north because of his job. Proving that is not going to be easy to say the least.

Wybrants KINGHORN – There is so much about this man that intrigues me, firstly his own crime and punishment, and then his subsequent murder. I have feeling that his life story would make a good book, if only I could find enough evidence.

Luther TROWER, Henrietta KING and Charles BRINTON – Talking of good stories, this story is rather tragic and quite complicated. I don’t think I have mentioned them before, only in passing perhaps. Luther TROWER was my 3x great-uncle. One of these was a bigamist, there were two marriages, one divorce, two suicides (although seemingly unrelated) and quite a bit of alcohol and blood. I have a few more pieces of evidence to try and gather, but I would like to get this story told, in one form or another.

Thomas NICHOLLS – Another of my 4x great-grandfathers, about whom I know very little. He appears to have come from Chiddingstone, Kent and died quite young. It looks like he was a navvy working on building the railway, and I have a gut feeling that he died as a result of an accident at work. I would love to be able to prove that, and also find out what happened to his widow and children.

It looks like I am going to have my plate full in 2010, what with this little lot, plus all the other families that I will no doubt end up chasing, and the 5x great-grandparents I want to find and all the re-organising I want to do.

I can guarantee that within a week or two of the new year I will have found something else that seems much more exciting will be heading off somewhere totally different, notebook in hand and camera at the ready.

2010 to do list – create a proper to-do list

30 Dec

Between now and the new year I will be writing about some of the things I want to achieve with my family history in 2010.

I have attempted in the past to create an all encompassing to-do list, most of these attempts have either been far too simplistic or far too complicated.

The simple ones don’t hold enough detail, so for example they don’t make it easy for me to find all the things I have to find at a particular archive. The complex ones just take too long to update, so they generally don’t get updated often enough. What I need is something that is going to capture everything, quickly and easily.

I did have the idea of borrowing some ideas from David Allen’s Getting Things Done, where I would set a goal for each individual in my database, and deciding what the next step would be on the road to achieving that, and where I would need to be to carry out that step.

I thought this may be too complicated to track, but I did wonder if I might actually be able to create custom tags in my database which would hold the information within Family Historian itself. With a few reports I might be able to create a report of what to do at various archives or for a specific family name. It may however be simpler to keep this data in a separate spreadsheet, which could be filtered in many different ways.

At the moment I have gone back to a simple text file to capture everything (rather than risk losing the thing I have to do), which is much more portable than a spreadsheet or database, but not so easy to search. It is clearly something I am going to have to think about carefully before implementing any major changes.

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