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Genealogy Resolutions Part 2: Making a list and checking it twice
By Melody Lassalle

Now, that you've made your list resolution list...you did make your list, didn't you??? Well, I made my list, so we'll just have to work with that! The fours items on my list are HUGE projects. I'll never get them done. I might as well toss this baby in the recycle bin right now. Grovel, grovel, whine... Okay, that's ONE way to handle it. But, I'd like to try another way. Now that I know what I'd like to accomplish, I'm going to break it down into steps that I might actually be able to finish.

Let's look at resolution #3: Write a book about my great grandfather, Theodoro Pacheco

I probably won't write the whole darn thing this year. So, what can I do to get closer to my goal? I need to do alot of background research for my book. Let's see how I can break down the book project into smaller, easier to digest bites.

1. Write briefly about what I already know about Theodoro.
2. Make a timeline about the events in Theodoro's life.
3. Make a timeline of world events that happened during Theodoro's life.
4. Learn more about the Kilauea Sugar Plantation where he lived and worked.
5. Learn more about Hansen's Disease--the disease that killed him.

I think I can actually accomplish some of those things this year!

Resolution #1: Get all my family group sheets printed or written and put them in my binders

If you're like me, you have the best intentions mixed with a good measure of procrastination. I have nine binders related to the Pacheco-de Braga tribe and the families who married into the lines. They are in various stages of completion. It is frustrating because whatever line I have questions about is the line that is not in my binders.

Let's follow the same procedure as item #2:

1. Go through each binder to look for my note "need FGS". I note this in the margin when I've married someone off and don't have a family group sheet in the binder. Identify those sheets that need to printed from my database and print them out.
2. Compare "parent" sheets to the next generation to make sure I've got everyone covered. Print out what I need.

I've already started on this project and have done a considerable amount of damage so far. I've started with the "associate families" binders as those are in the worst shape. That should make the rest of the job much easier. Phew! My printer is going to be exhausted when I get through with it!

Resolution #2: Input all the data I've collected and scribbled on my family group sheets

This project will be the most time consuming of all. I've collected considerable amount of data in 2002 on my Medeiros Cordeiro line that goes back beyond 1400. I also have been working on the 1930 census in hopes of filling in the blanks and verifying family stories. There are other considerations such as the fact that I have arthritis in my shoulders and hands. I can't just sit at the computer for a few days straight and be done with it. I'm going to have to pace myself.

My steps for this one:

1. Go binder by binder and work my way through to the end.
2. Input a couple of sheets each week so as to keep making progress.
3. Go through my assortment of obituaries, emails, census sheets, and so forth to make sure everything gets input.

This will obviously take some time. The important thing is to keeping on pecking away at it. Sooner or later, I'll reach the end. Then, I'll have to start all over because the 1940 census will have been released!

Resolution #4: Work on getting my Irish ancestors back to County Roscommon

My Irish ancestry has been a major pain in the butt every since I got started! While the Portuguese lines have mostly been a breeze, the Irish have plodded. It took me eight years to establish them in San Francisco and work back to Massachusetts and New Hampshire. I'll need more data to jump across the Atlantic to Ireland.

1. Try to find more definitive information about the Kelly and Dolan immigration. Make a list of what documents will help me establish the date and place of immigration.
2. Learn more about Irish genealogy. Listen again to the cassettes on Irish genealogy that a fellow research sent me. Find out if there are online classes or resources available online. Find books that explain how to go about researching Irish lines.
3. Talk to other Irish researchers to learn tips.
4. Scour the internet for available databases and indexes.

My major stumbling block with these lines is lack of knowledge. Not only do I not know enough about my ancestors to move forward, but I don't know enough about Irish genealogy to make the jump. The Kelly and Dolan families also had the nerve to live in San Francisco before 1906. This means that many of the records I would have found don't exist anymore. In order to remove this thorn in my side, I'm going to need to educate myself so I can locate alternative records.

Well, that's how I'm going to approach things this year. I do not expect to look over this list in a year and pat myself on the back for being super researcher! I do expect to have made progress on all of them.

How much will you accomplish by 2004? Not much for the ol' New Years resolution thing? Nothing says you have to start January 1st! If you find your motivation each year around summer solstice, ground hogs day, or during full moons, use that to your advantage! You can make resolutions at any time. Personally, I'm most motivated when I'm PMS. But, hey! That's just me!

And, remember your resolutions are not set in stone. Half way through the year, you may realize that your Azorean great grandmother was really from Madeira. Or, you may learn that your grandfather had a sister that no one ever talked about. Shift gears! Make changes to your list as needed. After all, we all know that a family tree is never truly finished. Oh, we may run into roadblocks or run out of records, but that leaves so many others lines to explore.

Good luck with your resolutions! May you be pleased with whatever you accomplish this year!

© 2003 Melody Lassalle

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