Make your goals visible

2015gengoalsscreenshotToday is the last day of the first quarter of 2015, so I thought I’d take a look at the progress I’d made on my goals for the quarter. Since I try to research one family line per quarter, the end of the quarter is significant. Tomorrow, it’ll be time for me to turn my attention from my Adams ancestors (my father’s father’s family) and start researching my Brown ancestors (my mother’s father’s family), according to the schedule I set.

At the end of December, I put together a nifty table with eight different potential accomplishments for each line. My goal was to check off four per quarter. It was a pretty great idea, if I say so myself. But it fell by the wayside for a simple reason: I completely forgot about it.

I just discovered the goal table on my hard drive a week or so ago. While I did not focus on those goals in the first quarter, I did manage to put Xs in a few squares.

So, as I look to the second quarter, I have printed out the table and put it on my bulletin board where I put other things that inspire me. (Like my written goals for this blog.)

Writing goals is an important first step. But I dare say that remembering them is just as important!

Early-bird registration for NGS conference ends March 30

Early-bird registration for NGS conference ends March 30I am so excited to be attending the National Genealogical Society’s annual Family History Conference, May 13 to 16. It’s going to held in St. Charles, Missouri, less than a half hour from my house, so it’s been on my calendar for about three years.

I registered in January, but I just noticed that the early-bird registration deadline is Monday, March 30. If you register after Monday, you’ll pay an additional $35. So if you’ve been on the fence about attending, now might be a good time to make a decision. Here are links for the program and to register. It’s a very robust program.

If you can’t attend but are interested in the content, a certain number of the lectures will be available via live stream for a fee of $80 or $140, depending on whether you buy the opportunity to view one or two tracks.

This is the first NGS conference I’ve attended. In past years, they’ve conflicted with my husband’s birthday. But the conference is a little bit later this year, and local, so there was not way I was going to miss it. I can’t wait to experience the differences between NGS and RootsTech (and the SCGS Jamboree I’ll be attending in June).

I love genealogy conferences because of the learning opportunities and the motivation it gives me. And I love being around people who are knowledgeable and passionate about genealogy. I feel so fortunate to have this year’s conference practically in my back yard.

If you’re planning to attend, please let me know and maybe we can meet up!

Don’t forget labels!

Label everything in your genealogy roomI enjoy perusing the popular Facebook group, The Organized Genealogist. Recently, I’ve seen a number of posts where people are showing off pictures of their genealogy research rooms after they’ve taken the time to declutter and organize them. They’re beautiful and really fun to look at.

But the organizer in me is disturbed when I don’t see labels on containers and shelves, as is sometimes the case. I imagine that the person who has organized the room thinks that she’ll remember where everything is. But why tax your brain? It’s a simple thing to create a label. And it has a big payoff: it makes it easy for you to find what you’re looking for and, perhaps even more importantly,  put things away.

Another benefit to labeling is that it helps ensure that you’re organizing in identifiable categories. In other words, if you can’t put a label on a drawer or a bin, it’s probably because you have a mish-mash of categories contained in that space. Labels help you clarify. And clarity is good.

Your labels don’t have to be fancy. I do love my Brother P-Touch label maker. (I have the P-Touch 2030, but there are a variety from which to choose.) But there are plenty of other ways to make labels:

I think it’s a great idea to create labels that are easy to remove or change, in case you want to reorganize or your categories change. It also makes it a little easier to pull the trigger and create the label if you know it might not be there forever.

Please don’t get caught up in making the most perfectly gorgeous label, if it gets in the way of getting it done. That said, if you’re the crafty type who takes great pleasure in beautiful labels, go for it.  Pinterest is a great place to search innovative ways to label.

In my work as a professional organizer, I frequently am called into spaces where organizing systems have broken down. And in those spaces I almost always notice an absence of labels. If you’re going to the effort of organizing your genealogy space, labels will help you maintain that organization. Again, it’s a big payoff for a relatively small effort.

Just signed up for SCGS Jamboree!

Blogger badge-blogger-1I hadn’t actually considered attending the Southern California Genealogical Society’s annual Jamboree this year. I was aware of it, but I hadn’t focused on the content and I think I had a vague notion that the conference was related to southern California genealogy.

Then yesterday one of my readers, Kitty Cooper, a genetic genealogy expert who is a presenter at this year’s Jamboree, asked if she’d see me there.  I checked out the Jamboree’s website, saw all the great talks being offered at a really reasonable price, and decided to attend.

In addition to the three-day Jamboree, June 5 through 7, the SCGS is offering a one-day workshop on DNA on June 4. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that I’ve had my autosomal DNA test done, but I’m pretty clueless about the meaning of the results. So I jumped at the chance for this in-depth learning opportunity.

The conference was made more affordable for me when I contacted a friend who lives just 20 minutes away from the conference venue (the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport) and she invited me to stay in her home.

There are many great offerings, but I’m particularly looking forward to hearing talks about Civil War ancestors, pre-1850 U.S. Censuses, mapping, Jewish genealogy (my husband is Jewish and I’ve been thinking of helping him look into his family history) and, of course, genetic genealogy.

If you’re considering attending, registration is only $125 for SCGS members who register by April 30. I’ll share with you that I found the online registration process a little baffling. The website doesn’t make it abundantly clear what is included with the registration fee. I was helped by taking a look at the mail-in registration form, which outlined everything clearly. From there, I went ahead and joined online then, in a separate transaction, registered for the DNA day and the full weekend Jamboree. I also signed up for  the Saturday night banquet featuring Michael D. Lacopo, talking about his popular blog, Hoosier Daddy.

Thank you, Kitty, for suggesting it, I look forward to meeting you and hearing you speak at the DNA day!

If any other readers are planning to attend the Jamboree, please let me know. I’d love to meet you!