2023 Goals

It’s the new year. Have you made any new year’s resolutions? While I know I’ve made resolutions in the past. I’ve also broken most of those resolutions. Thus, when other genealogists suggested setting annual goals for my genealogy research, I was skeptical.

While I haven’t met all of my previous goals, I’ve met the majority of them. And they help me focus my research. Last year, I was able to finish updating the research for my 3rd great grandfathers. I also finished updating the descendancy research for those 3rd great grandfathers.

While I would love to dedicate 2023 to my Crawford research, that research will have to be in short spurts since most of it will require visiting an affiliate library. However, I recently became aware of a Crawford Name Study on WikiTree. While I’m definitely a novice at using WikiTree, this study is causing me to improve my knowledge of that platform and to want to expand my Crawford research.

While I’m not going to ‘go all in’ to either WikiTree or Crawford research, I do plan to work on both. Below are my goals for 2023:

  • Continue to use the TreeShare feature of RootsMagic to upload people, events and sources to my Ancestry tree.
  • Go thru my grandparents thru my 3rd great grandparents and make sure that any unique sources, photos or documents that I have are uploaded to FamilySearch.
  • Compare a narrative report for grandparents thru my 3rd great grandparents to the profile on WikiTree and add any additional information and sources to the WikiTree profile.
  • Fill in the ‘blanks’ on my family tree on WikiTree by linking to existing profiles – OR – Create a profile on WikiTree for any of my ancestors that do not exist
  • Update the research of my 4th great grandparents, including their profiles on FamilySearch and WikiTree.
  • Create a free-space page on WikiTree to ‘catalog’ the Crawford related blog posts to share with the Crawford Name Study

Just getting my 4th great grandparents updated will be a time consuming task!

2022 Goals Summary

Do you make annual goals for your genealogy research? I have to admit that prior to retirement I didn’t. But, then my research time was often limited and I likely would not have met those goals. While I don’t follow the ‘Smart Goals’ method of writing my goals, my abbreviated goals are usually specific and manageable over the year.

While I outlined my goals in a blog post, I used an abbreviated version in my journal. Over the year, those two pages have been referred to on almost a daily basis and have kept me on track.

I finished up this research in October and have been researching my Crawford line and FAN club since then while pondering my goals for 2023. I shared most of my progress on this blog.

Descendancy Research

Narrative Reports

Since I finished the above goals early, I expanded my list to include some of the SELLERS family. James Sellers married Mary Crawford in Lincoln County, Kentucky in 1791. William Sellers married Sarah Crawford in Lincoln County Kentucky in 1796. It is believed that Mary and Sarah are sisters to the James Crawford who married Martha Knight. Thus, these two families have CRAWFORD connections.

Friday Finds

While I haven’t done a good job of cleaning up my files, I have used those files to create a post sharing some of those files each Friday.

Crawford Research / yDNA

While I haven’t done much digging in Virginia records, I have been doing some Crawford research. As I’ve reveiwed my previous research, I have expanded my fan club. In addition, thanks to my mother, I have been able to sponsor two big Y DNA tests. The first was of one of my brothers and the more recent one was of a 4th cousin. Thus, some of my recent research has been to make sure the documentation of my 4th cousin’s line is solid. While we are awaiting my 4th cousin’s placement on the block tree, my brothers have been placed in the R1b-01A Ardmillan group of Crawford yDNA. I am very thankful that the CRAWFORD yDNA project seems to be very active and has an excellent administrator!


While this is an area that I have let slide, a commentator on my blog has provided a solution to make this process easier. I just need to quit procrastinating and check out the solution and get it done!

FamilySearch Memories

This is another area where I am not very successful. While, I’ve tried to complete this task as I’ve worked each ancestor, I haven’t documented that progress in my journal. Thus, I need to do a better job at not only completing this task but documenting tat completion.

Overall, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot in 2022 and look forward to setting my 2023 goals and working to accomplish them.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

It’s Saturday Night

time for Genealogy Fun

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible music here) is to:

1) What is next on your genealogy “To Do” list? [Thank you to Linda Stufflebean for suggesting topics!]

Since my ‘to-do’ list is driven by my 2022 goals, I’m turning to that list of goals to answer this question. While I have completed the descendancy research on my goal list, I am still working on the narrative reports for the following individuals in my tree:

  • William Duggins (step-son of my ancestor, James Crawford)
  • William G. Harding
  • Henry Burke
  • Hiram M. Currey of Peoria, Illinois
  • James Barr Ralston
  • Zebulon Foster

While it will be fairly easy to update my records for most of these individuals, some of them are still unfinished because I need to get copies of deeds and possibly do more deed research. Thus, my to-do list includes trips to my local library to do that deed research.

As I’ve recently been working on the DUGGINS step-sons of my ancestor, James Crawford, I’m finding information on members of my CRAWFORD FAN club in Preble County, Ohio. That information is helping me ‘fine-tune’ the timeline for their arrival in Ohio.

With this knowledge, I want to go back thru the Barren County, Kentucky deeds to redo the search for the 50 acres of land on the Marrowbone attributed to Crawford, James Jr on the 1805 tax list.

Making Progress

Did you make New Years resolutions for your genealogy work? Or did you create a list of goals or even smart goals? I’ve found that creating a list of goals helps keep me focus my research. Since the year is half over, it is a good time to check my progress.

Previously, I had researched the descendants of my 3rd great grandparents on my dad’s side of the tree. Thus, one of my main goals for 2022 was to do the same for my 3rd great grandparents on my mom’s side of the tree.

Since I am currently researching the descendants of Ozias Wells, I feel like I’ve made GREAT progress on this goal. Even though I don’t do much ‘searching’ for sources for these descendants, it is still time consuming to work the Ancestry hints.

As I’ve completed this descendancy research and used TreeShare to update my Heartland Genealogy tree on Ancestry, I’m also finding more DNA matches with Common Ancestors identified. In one case, this descendancy research has helped me share information about their Kansas roots with a cousin whose grandmother had moved back east over 50 years ago.

While I’m about finished with my goals to research descendants that leaves the other set of goals: the narrative reports. As I’m rechecking the various facts and sources I’ve accumulated for the men on this list, I’m also taking time to make sure I’ve transcribed any records I’ve collected for them. In some cases, this is revealing holes in my research which sends me on a search for more records.

While I’ve made progress on this list of narrative reports, I still have plenty of work to keep me busy for the second half of 2022. If I should happen to complete these goals before the end of 2022, I already know that my next set of goals will be to research descendants and update narrative reports for my 4th great grandparents. Since my fan chart is fairly complete for this generation, I won’t be lacking for tasks on my to do list for at least a couple of years to come!

2022 Goals

Since I completed the bulk of my 2021 goals in October, I’ve had a couple of months to contemplate my 2022 goals. Having this much time to think about where I want to go with my research in 2022 has resulted in quite a few goals.

Descendancy Research

During 2021, I researched descendants of my 3rd great grandfathers down to my grandparents on my dad’s side of the tree. Thus, my 2022 goal is to finish this research for my mom’s side of the tree.

  • Alexander Briles
  • William Thompson
  • John Lewis Ricketts
  • Samuel Christy
  • Phillip Mentzer
  • John Minnick
  • Ozias Wells
  • Lewis Crandall

Narrative Reports

During 2021, I completed narrative reports for my 2nd great grandparents. For 2022, I want to work on publishing these narrative reports along with transcribing deeds and wills for my 3rd great grandparents along with my Duggins step-sons of James Crawford.

  • Nelson Crawford and Martha Smith
  • Zebulon Foster and Caroline Ostrander
  • Horatio Hammond and Louisa Fisk
  • James Barr Ralston and Nancy Jane McCormick
  • Hiram M. Currey (of Peoria) and Rachel Harris
  • Henry F Burke and Elizabeth Ann Bland
  • Aaron Hutchinson and Sarah Merry
  • William Gillies Harding and Elizabeth Fowler
  • Alexander Briles and Sarah Rush
  • William Taylor Thompson and Polly Ann Evans
  • John Lewis Ricketts and Orilda Matilda Reed
  • Samuel Christy and Lyda Gallimore
  • Phillip Andrew Mentzer and Orinda Miles
  • John Minnick and Elizabeth Mary Jones
  • Ozias Wells and Mary Kennedy
  • Lewis Crandall and Almira Nafus
  • William Duggins
  • Henry Duggins

Friday Finds

Not only do I still have file folders containing unscanned documents, but I have lots of folders full on scanned images of research done years ago.

For this goal, I plan to work thru one folder at a time, reviewing the information, transcribing as needed and making sure a source citation is in my genealogy file when appropriate.


Since it has been a year since I’ve actively researched my Crawford family and their Garrard County FAN club, I plan to continue this research. I’m going to start by extracting information for Garrard county deeds from the book, Old Kentucky Entries and Deeds by Willard Rouse Jillson. Since the data is not organized by county, I’m searching for deeds on Sugar Creek, Paint Lick Creek and Clear Creek. I’m using these creeks because they are the creeks named in the deeds for the CRAWFORD families in early Garrard County, Kentucky: Rebekah Crawford, Mary Crawford and James Crawford.


To make sure I have a ‘backup’ of my blog posts, I have started printing each post as a PDF file. However, I have a lot of older posts that still need ‘printed’. Thus, I would like to get all of my posts printed so that I can have a ‘backup’ copy outside of WordPress.

FamilySearch Memories

After seeing the destruction caused by the recent spat of tornadoes and seeing pictures carried hundreds of miles, I want to work my way thru my family notebooks to make sure the documents and pictures are uploaded as memories to FamilySearch.

These are ambitious goals! Will I achieve all of them? That’s doubtful — but I plan to try.

2021 Goals

Do you make resolutions for the new year? If so, are any of them genealogy related. Since retiring, I’ve done a better job of setting goals for my genealogy. And in 2021, I can actually say I COMPLETED those goals.

Since I started using a bullet journal, I have found it easier to keep track of those goals. Below is my very plain spread showing my 2021 goals.

Below are the blog posts created when these goals were achieved.

Narrative Reports

Descendancy reports – 3rd great-grandparents on my dad’s side of tree

Since I finished these goals early, I’ve been working on descendancy reports for the 3rd great-grandparents on my mother’s side of the tree

Goals Update

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution for 2021? Have you kept that resolution? What about genealogy goals for 2021? Did you make any?

Since retiring, I have been trying to make (and achieve) genealogy goals each year. Even though I’ve made progress with my genealogy, I don’t think I’ve been very successful in achieving those goals in past years. However, this year, I am making progress on those goals!

My first goal was to create (and post) a narrative report for each of my second great-grandparents. Since I had already posted reports for my Crawford and Hammond lines, my 2021 goal only included the following:

My second goal was to do descendancy research for my 3rd grandparents and post a report. To avoid posting about living individuals, I am limiting the report to 3 generations of descendants.

  • Nelson Crawford / Martha Smith
  • Zebulon Foster / Caroline Ostrander
  • Horatio Hammond Louisa Fisk
  • James Barr Ralston / Nancy McCormick
  • Hiram Currey / Rachel Harris
  • Henry Burke / Elizabeth Bland
  • Aaron Hutchinson / Sarah Merry
  • William Harding / Elizabeth Fowler
  • Alexander Briles / Sarah Rush
  • William Thompson / Polly Evans
  • John Ricketts / Orilda Reed
  • Samuel Christy / Lyda Gallmore
  • Phillip Mentzer / Orinda Miles
  • John Minnick / Elizabeth Jones
  • Ozias Well / Mary Kennedy
  • Lewis Crandall / Almira Nafus

Even though I already had all of these ancestors in my tree, working on these tasks allows me to do the following:

  • Clean up sentences associated with each fact (My genealogy software uses these sentences to build the narrative reports.)
  • Verify sources and update to my current templates
  • Transcribe the deeds, obituaries and other records into my genealogy software
  • Identify ‘holes’ in my research and try to find additional information to fill in those holes
  • Review family connections to make sure I have sourcing to support those relationships.

A third goal for 2021 was to be more consistent with publishing blog posts. To help me stay on track with this goal, I try to do the following:

  • Share family pictures in a ‘Throwback Thursday’ post
  • Use the Amy Johnson Crow’s#52 ancestors prompts as a topic for a Saturday post
  • Use Randy Seavers’ ‘Saturday Night Genealogy Fun‘ prompt as the topic for a Sunday post. (Prompts are posted on Saturday afternoons.)
  • For the other four days of the week, I try to share transcribed records, narrative reports, descendancy reports and any interesting finds I have made while researching for my first two goals.

So, am I on track with these goals? Looking at my goal to publish the narrative reports, I feel that I will easily accomplish this goal in 2021. When it comes to researching the descendants, one would likely conclude that I am not on track. Since this descendancy research involves adding new people to my file and the documentation to support them, it is much more time consuming. Thus, I likely won’t accomplish this goal during 2021 – but I am satisfied with my progress.

In terms of my blog, I am happy to report that my research goals have made it easy to consistently post on my blog.

Thus, I am pleased with my progress on my 2021 genealogy goals. How about you? Are you satisfied with your progress on your 2021 genealogy goals?

Evaluating Progress

Have you ever looked at a chart or table someone else created to display their genealogy data in a different way and wondered what your own data might look like? For many people, this happened when Paul Hawthorne created a pedigree worksheet color coded by birth location.

Well, today, genealogist Yvette Hoitink published a way to color code one’s research progress in her blog, Six Levels of Ancestral Profiles – Level Up Challenge.

Basically, she used the numbers on an ahnentafel chart to create a spreadsheet. Then, she color coded each person based six levels of research progress.

Using her blog as a guide, I decided to see what my research progress looked like. Even though there is no ‘fine line’ dividing some of these levels from another, I simplified my levels to the following:

  • Level 0 – No Information – no color
  • Level 1 – Names Only – pink
  • Level 2 – Vitals – orange
  • Level 3 – Family / Census – purple
  • Level 4 – Between the Dash – blue
  • Level 5 – Exhaustive Research – torquoise
  • Level 6 – Biography – green

Below is my color coded ahnentafel using the above levels.

Below is my dad’s side of the above chart. I used their ‘ahnentafel’ number instead of their name so the chart would stay compact. (See Wikipedia article for info on ahnentafel numbers.)

Followed by my mother’s side of the chart.

This chart helps me see where I need to do more research. The following images turn the numbers of my 7th generation into names.

I wasn’t surprised by my results. However, this visualization will help identify future research goals.

2020 Stats / 2021 Goals

In my last years of teaching, our career and technical education instructors were learning to use ‘Smart Goals’ for their program improvement plans. A ‘Smart Goal‘ is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.

Unfortunately, I haven’t applied my knowledge of ‘Smart Goals’ to my genealogy. If someone asked me what my goal has been for the past couple of years, my answer would be find the parents of my ancestor, James Crawford. This goal is specific. It is measurable in that I either find them or I don’t. Since James Crawford is one of my brick walls, I would say it is a relevant goal. After about 40 years of genealogy research, much of it spent figuring out my Crawford lineage, I’m beginning to wonder if this goal is attainable. And it definitely isn’t time based.

Even though I haven’t met that goal, I feel like I have made progress. I definitely know more about the Crawford and related families that were in early Garrard County, Kentucky. However, this progress is difficult to measure. My RootsMagic and Ancestry Tree statistics do show growth, but not specifically toward this goal.

RootsMagic People1439218180
RootsMagic Families47825836
RootsMagic Events4160055042
RootsMagic Places47247233
RootsMagic Sources41284758
RootsMagic Citations5669071098
Ancestry Tree: People1390717659
Ancestry Tree: Photos798613198
Ancestry Tree: Records865712269

Since I tend to post my findings on my blog, the number of posts should reflect my progress. In 2019, I published 265 posts. In 2020, I only published 60 posts. I think that decline in posts reflects the loss of focus the pandemic brought to my research and especially to my blogging.

To help me get back on track, I’ve started working on some specific, measurable and attainable goals:

  • Continue posting narrative reports for my 2nd great grandparents with the goal of posting one a month
    • Clean up sources
    • Verify that sentences read correctly
  • Continue documenting DNA ThruLines for my 3rd great grandparents and document any new ThruLines for grandparents thru 2nd great grandparents
    • Continue updating descendancy research for these ancestors
    • Post a descendancy list report
  • Begin documenting Crawford families in Montgomery County, Virginia from its formation to at least 1820 using resources available on the web and posting my findings
    • land records
    • tax records
    • vital records
  • Learn to use RootsMagic 8
    • Continue working with a small file on the preview program
    • Report issues as I encounter them
    • As new updates are released, re-test previously reported issues
    • Figure out a ‘citation naming’ protocol to use when I transfer my genealogy file
    • participate in the Facebook group and any applicable forum

Instead of adding more goals, I’m going to stop here in hopes that I can attain these goals.

Setting Goals

It’s the new year and time for resolutions. Right? Or, if you are like me, you’ve given up on resolutions. I gave up on ‘New Years Resolutions’ quite a while ago. Like many people, one of the reasons I quit making resolutions was because I didn’t keep them. However, looking back, I think another reason is that we perceive a ‘New Year’s Resolution’ as a declaration to change something about our lives.

Instead of making resolutions to ‘change,’ I want to set goals for things I want to accomplish – particularly with my genealogy research. Before writing goals for 2020, I thought I’d look back at my previous goals to see how well I’ve done. 
And guess what – I would receive a failing grade for goal setting in 2019 because I can’t find any goals for 2019. However, I did find that I wrote goals for 2018

  • Get my tree indexed on Ancestry!
  • Reduce number of shaky leaves on Ancestry
  • Use RootsMagic’s link to FamilySearch to add sources for my direct line ancestors
  • Connect with cousins on Facebook by sharing family photos
  • Blog about my ancestors 
  • SCAN — I still have some photo albums to scan
  • Clean up files (sadly I have duplicates of some photos and others that need re-scanned)
  • DNA — update my spreadsheet of matches
  • Finish doing visual phasing with my brother’s DNA results and then hopefully add a cousin or two 
  • Attend a genealogy conference 
  • Participate in genealogy study groups and round-tables

With two years to accomplish these goals, one would hope that I could report progress. Even though I can report progress on some goals, I don’t have any data to support progress on others and I’ve abandoned other goals.
In terms of progress, I can claim success for the following goals:

  • My Heartland Genealogy tree on Ancestry is indexed and TreeShare with RootsMagic is working great.
  • I have attended the Topeka Genealogical Society’s conference
  • Weather and schedule permitting, I have participated in the DNA Study Group and Brick Wall Study group sponsored by the Topeka Genealogy Society.
  • Until recently taking a detour to work with Ancestry hints, I have been frequently blogging about my findings

Even though I think I’ve been successful with some of the other goals, I have no data to support my feeling of success. For example, I have no idea how many shaky leaves I had at the beginning of 2018, or the number of hints worked. 
In terms of adding sources to FamilySearch, I know I have added some sources. Even though I’m not responsible for adding all of the sources to the individuals in my tree, my tree is gradually turning ‘orange’ to reflect 10 or more sources for each ancestor.

Because of the overwhelming amount of data, I’ve abandoned the DNA related goals. Instead, I’m using the Notes and color coding capabilities for my Ancestry matches to try and keep up with all of this data. 
I do have data to show growth in my RootsMagic database over the past year.

Even though my goals shifted over the past two years, I’m glad I listed them. So, looking ahead, I would like to continue

  • Researching both ancestors and their descendants
  • Blogging
  • Attending the study groups sponsored by the Topeka Genealogical Society 
  • Utilizing webinars and YouTube videos to improve my skill set

My dream goal for this year would be a research trip to Eastern Kentucky University and the Lancaster area of Kentucky.
Hopefully, in a year, I can look back and say that I’ve had a successful year and learned a lot.