Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this blog article, Mary – with tongue firmly in cheek – presents 20 New Year’s resolutions for genealogists as we head into 2016.
As we head from 2015 to 2016, remember to quickly document 2015, as it is now your past.
But seriously, when asked by GenealogyBank for some timely genealogy resolutions for the New Year, my serious side left the building. Wouldn’t it be fun to use these resolutions!
- Locate deceased relatives in order to figure out which ancestor is haunting the family house – or better yet, invite one to become the family ghost and leave you clues.
- Resolve to donate a black sheep to the local petting zoo. Family historians will understand the innuendo.
- Resolve to never purchase a house with a real brick wall. It’s very unlucky when trying to solve the family puzzles.
- Add a genealogically oriented cornerstone to your home. Include the pertinent data as to the family name, its pronunciation, when you moved there, etc.
- Find birth records to make genealogy quilts for family members with the names of your ancestors and their countries of origin.
- Resolve to only donate to politicians who have supported funding for genealogy and historical preservation. While you’re at it, search military records to see which of your ancestors served this country.
- Threaten to disinherit the family down-at-the-mouthers when they sneer at your genealogy.
- Write your own glowing obituary – then add a clause to your will disinheriting anyone who dares replace it with another version.
- Read newspaper archives and historical documents to create a genealogy quiz for the executor to distribute at the reading of your will. Anyone who can’t answer questions, such as “which ancestor built the house on 7th Street” or “what was Grandma’s maiden name” has to retake it until they get an A. Leave a bonus to the top scorer, along with all your family research material and a stipend to preserve it.
- Create birth, marriage and death announcements for ancestors who missed out on having them.
- If you hear a relative sneer with “blah, blah, blah” to your latest genealogy find, respond with: “thanks, I think I’ll ‘blog, blog, blog’ about your disinterest, so it will be out there when you finally get interested.”
- Record the GPS coordinates of the family headstones and present the data to disinterested relatives. Make sure you take their photos to record their “Oh gee thanks” expressions!
- Use historical books to find your living family’s doppelgangers (ancestor look-alikes) and frame their images in side-by-side frames.
- In order to hook your grandchildren on genealogy, search family names to figure out how they are related to their favorite pop stars.
- Create your multi-generational family tree and engrave it into your headstone! (No joke. Some genealogists have already thought of this.)
- Engrave your headstone with a statement noting your better qualities. (“Loving mother, or grandmother, genealogy diva & the family favorite”)
- Persuade your local library board to provide special parking places for family history researchers.
- Petition your state legislature for vanity license plates that grant free & convenient parking for genealogists at all state and national archives.
- Hire handwriting experts to determine just who mislabeled the family photos. If it turns out it was a living relative, label this person’s really bad photos accurately.
- Lastly, to complete the family DNA tests – resolve to do it surreptitiously during a family get-together. Here’s how: cover your desserts and say “Everyone. Open your mouth and close your eyes, so you can have a little surprise.” Instead of inserting a tasty bite, take a cheek swab.
Remember: all New Year’s resolutions go in one year and out the other! Make this one a safe one!