Sunday, August 23, 2009

Focus and Goals

Focus. I often find myself trying to focus on too many research projects at one time. Focusing on too many things at one time and not seeing anything clearly. Or focusing on a research question and being distracted by other interesting facts that I find along the way.

My research into the Howard/Harward family is a primary example. I often post on this family as they have been a focus of my research. There are still many questions on this family that I want to answer. Not all of the questions will lead back down the ancestral line, but will fill in the interesting pieces of their lives. A question from a cousin here, an unidentified picture there, an ancestor I can't quite place in the tree.... all lead me down a genealogy trail. But which trail first? And once started, how do I stay on the trail? The answer is : GOALS.

I have recently been writing goals for my genealogy research. I have found that this has kept me better focused. In the past I have relied on memory to pick back up where I left off on a area of research. I know...a classic mistake by a newbie! But no more (at least not as much!). I have goals written for a couple of the family lines I am researching. During the last few weeks, researching based on these goals has enabled me to make quite a bit of progress filling in missing information on my more recent ancestors.

Researching based on goals is not a new concept. In fact, my children learned that very concept early in their school years. Let's hope they remember their lessons better than their mother did! I'm off now to review my goals......

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