It's also time to start planning my genealogy work for the next few months and set a few goals:
- Completely rework my approach to my Québec genealogy. I want to treat my French Canadian family history more like a drawing than my other half of the family. I've generally been using the same approach in all of my family trees, and it just doesn't work for me when it comes to Québec. Usually, I go generation by generation, making sure I have all of a direct ancestor's siblings and in-laws before I go back another generation. This works just great in my Irish/English half because those ancestors didn't have nearly as many children as my dutiful Catholic French Canadian ones. I found myself getting completely bogged down in infinite cousins and siblings who I don't really care about, unable to move back in time. It was like I was playing oozeball and getting stuck in all this mud. Instead, I want to treat my French Canadian genealogy more like a drawing; I want to start with a sketch and then come back and fill in the details later. I want to trace as many lines as I can back to their immigration to Canada (since the Drouin collection and other sources makes doing so awfully easy if you can read enough French), and just stick to my direct ancestors. When I've done all I can, then I will worry about every ancestor's 10 siblings, and each of their 10 children, and each of their ten children...I realize actually sketching out my tree will take much longer than a few months, but I want to get it started.
- Take a trip to the State Archives. I haven't gone to the Connecticut State Library since I was a child. The problem with that is there are no Connecticut vital records available online for a good portion of the 19th century. My genealogy research in Connecticut thus hits brick walls relatively early. Sure, I have the work others have done and family knowledge to get me past it, but genealogy is about the hunt for me, and I've learned that even the most careful person can make errors. I want to find some of this information myself.
- Read a history book relevant to a direct ancestor. When I was a kid, I read the history of the 27th Regiment of Connecticut during the Civil War. I want to read more now that I "know" some of my ancestors, in order to learn what they went through and what their lives were like. Recently I learned I have an ancestor whose family moved from England to Canada with the Royal Artillery and fought at Fort George during the War of 1812. I'd like to read about his military service, or at least about this one battle, for instance.
- Get a friend (a little) hooked on genealogy. If anything, this is probably one of my loftier goals. People who don't do genealogy just don't seem to get it! My boyfriend at least admits that he unintentionally tunes out when I start on a genealogy-related ramble. But, there's hope yet! A few months ago I sent him the link to Find-A-Grave, and he found his grandfather on there. Then I started asking questions, which led him to finding his great-grandparents' separate passenger list records. He was (temporarily) hooked! I want to help him out and see him get that excited at least one more time (I hope you're reading this-- you've been warned!). I've brought it up a few times, but this may take the season to actually accomplish. Admittedly, it's also a little self-serving; I don't have any ancestors of my own who came to the U.S. when the passenger lists were rich with information in the early 20th century, and I've never had the chance to work on Italian family history in particular.
So, I have some pretty big goals, but overall, I think they're doable. What are your own goals or hopes for the coming months?