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The Daily Genealogist: Spotlight Reflections

(Spotlight) Permanent link

Valerie Beaudrault
Assistant Editor

It's hard to believe that I began writing weekly articles for the NEHGS enewsletter ten years ago. Over that time there have been many changes. What was then the NEHGS eNews is now The Weekly Genealogist. The articles I wrote in the beginning covered both online and onsite genealogical resources. As more and more resources have become available online, the focus of my articles has turned exclusively to finding freely available online resources.

When I think about it, the numbers astound me. There are 52 weeks in each year, with an article written nearly every week over the course of ten years, which means that I've written more than 500 articles in ten years. And, believe it or not, there are a lot of resources still waiting to be discovered.

My Spotlight Resolution for 2014 is to continue to seek out and share online genealogical and family history resources with readers of The Weekly Genealogist. I welcome input from readers who know of sites that I've not found, and I am encouraged when I hear from readers about successful searches on sites about which I've written.

The Daily Genealogist: Genealogical New Year's Resolutions

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
Betlock Lynn

Lynn Betlock

As I was thinking about genealogical New Year's resolutions, I looked back to see what editors of other newsletters wrote about this topic a few decades ago. What I turned up highlighted some changes in genealogical practices, but generally emphasized how much underlying principles have stayed the same. Below are three of those resolutions:

"Here's a New Year's resolution many should make and keep. Locate any old letters, scrapbooks, Bible records, etc. still existing in your family. Make a copy of the data in them and of your own genealogical research records and place it in a different location. Dozens of our readers are painstakingly reconstructing lost or destroyed family facts; this duplication of 'lost' data often takes years. We can't fool ourselves into thinking we're immune from disaster."--Rosemary E. Bachelor, The Batchelor Family News-Journal, Machias, Maine, January 1974

"Maybe a lot of us are remiss in not jotting down items which should be remembered and which our children would enjoy reading about. Maybe a good New Year's resolution would be to start writing our family history as well as looking up our ancestors." --Heart O' Wisconsin Genealogical Society Newsletter, 1978

"If I could put across one message to you it would be to make a New Year's resolution to contact that relative whom you think has some records or information you need to complete your Family History. We are inclined to put it off and then it becomes too late. Even if you have tried before, without much success, try again. Maybe try a little different technique, maybe a telephone call, and then a letter requesting one or two items. My experience is that you will get a generous response to your letters if you do not ask for too much at one time." --Wilfred R. Burrell, Genealogical Forum of Portland, Oregon, January 1981

In all of the resolutions I read, one phrase, from the Genealogical Forum of Portland excerpt above, stood out for me: Even if you have tried before, without much success, try again. That general directive could be applied to many areas of genealogical research: organizing files, collections, or photographs; breaking through a particular brick wall; writing a narrative; submitting an article; interviewing a relative; or tackling whatever you've been putting off or unable to accomplish. In 2014, it might be time to try again.

Best wishes for successful genealogical pursuits in the New Year!

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