Click Here to Receive New Posts
in Your Inbox

This form does not yet contain any fields.

    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

    Now Available

    Follow Me

    Entries in goals (7)


    Setting Genealogy Goals With Blogging Buddy Amy Coffin

    Amy denise 2014

    Almost every holiday season since 2009 blogging buddy Amy Coffin of the WeTree Blog and I have met up in the real world for a genealogy break. We set aside the gift returns, Christmas cleanup, and dirty dishes to review the last year and set out a few objectives for the months ahead. One year we even managed to sneak in a few memorable hours researching city directories at the Los Angeles Public Library. It's great fun to look back at 2010 and see what we accomplished.

    This year, we picked a rendezvous spot midway between Amy's family in Riverside and my home in Pasadena. We pretty much decided that we had done a fair job meeting our goals for the previous years, and should try it again in 2015. Amy came prepared with paper and pen, but I had to make do with the Notes app on my smartphone. Once again we each set goals in three areas. The only rule is that is has to be something actually doable, which eliminates "finishing" our genealogy by December. 

    My goals are:

    Organizational -- To move my blog to WordPress and create a reference archive of articles that is easy for readers to access. [Right now I'm a bit stuck on the tech part of this goal, but I'm working on it.]

    Research -- To finish my D.A.R. application at last! And, then, to work more on my Brown line.

    Writing -- To write a short e-book. I just finished a new print book due out in April, How to Archive Family Photos, and I'm looking for a shorter project that will let me learn the whole ebook process. Since Amy's Big Genealogy Blog Book grew out of our 2011 Genealogy Goals, I know I have a mentor when I run into a snag and need help. 

    Amy will be sharing her 2015 goals over at the WeTree Blog. I can hardly believe that we've been doing this for over five years, but if our progress is any indication, setting goals with a friend really works! I'm fortunate indeed to have met Amy a few years ago at the SCGS Jamboree, and have to echo her question:

    So genealogy friends, are you up to the challenge in 2015?


    2012 Genea Blogging Buddies on your Mark...

    It's not a competition, unless you count aiming for your Personal Best, but these buddy-teams have joined up to work towards their own set of Genealogy Goals for 2012. Amy Coffin  and I discovered it helped to have a blogging buddy to nudge us along now and then, but several folks are going solo too. We all know there's more to achieving goals than writing up a grand ToDo List. Determination, motivation, and that good old-fashioned stick-to-it-iveness.

    Becky Jamison will be organizing her "small family archive."

    My Idaho pal Milda Simaitis is organizing photos, CDs, slides, and movies. (I wonder if I'm in any of them?)

    Donna Pointkowski and Lisa Alzo are staking their claim to a buddy project, but I wish SCGS was on Donna's 2012 list too! They each list an ambitious 12 goals for the year

    Gayle Wolcott is joining in with New Year Goals.

    Terri O'Connell and Steph are teaming up for 2012

    I know there are more buddy-teams out there and hope we'll be hearing from you once in a while.

    Good luck and Happy 2012!


    Ring in the New 2012 Genealogy Goals

    As we turn to the first page of our shiny new calendars, I am toasting the health and happiness of my friends and family in 2012, and looking forward to all that a new year brings. New opportunities, new friendships, and the reminder to be grateful for our many blessings (yes, Dad, I am making my Gratitude List!). The best part about blogging is meeting people who share a passion for genealogy, research, families, and even technology.

    Amy Coffin and I had a great few hours considering how much we did (or didn't quite) get done in 2011, and now we're stepping into 2012 with a short list of we-can-do-it genealogy goals. You can read about Amy's list here, and her 2011 progress report here. You can see my 2011 report and compare it to my initial goal list and January 2011 update.

    My Genealogy Goals for 2012:

    Research Goal -- I want to do some colonial era research on my grandmother's line to learn more about the early family roots. I confess my motivation here is to find an ancestor somewhere in our family tree that might interest my sons enough that they get bitten by the genealogy bug. I don't know what I'll find, but I'd like to know more about these shadowy ancestors.

    AND, I want to work with my Chamblin/Chamberlain/Chamberlin line and try to make some progress with the Real Sam Chamblin.

    Oh, one more research goal (but this one should be fairly easy) -- I learned that my great-grandfather's grave right here in Southern California does not have a marker; I need to confirm his birthdate and take care of this omission. That's really three goals, but as researcher's know... you never want to run out of objectives!

    Organization Goal -- It's time for a little Blog Beautification. I have some ideas in mind to get my blog posts reorganized for easier access and more content I'd like to write and post.

    Writing Goal -- I would like finish the transcriptions for Aunt Mercy's beautiful genealogy book, and work on the layout and design of this project. This is beginning to be a top priority because the interested family members are getting older (me too!) and I really want to put this book in their hands.

    2012 is already shaping up to be a busy year for genealogy, and I am looking forward to making even more progress on my family research and with my writing. Three goals seem pretty manageable, and even though I wasn't able to fully complete my 2011 goals I am pleased with my progress, and I'm sticking with the magic number 3.

    Drop a note if you'll be joining us with your Blogging Buddy in working toward  your 2012 Genealogy Goals. If you don't have a buddy (yet), leave a comment and join in anyway. You don't even have to share your goals; but write them down for yourself somewhere. It helps!

    Happy 2012, genea-friends.



    2011 Genealogy Goals: Year End Report 

    The Family Curator and Amy Coffin WeTree Blogger

    from the West Coast Partner --

    It's that time of year, to look back and see what progress we've made with our annual genealogy goals. For the third year, I was able to meet with Amy Coffin of the WeTree Blog when she was in Southern California during the holidays. Last December, our usual afternoon chat turned to research and blogging and we challenged each other to complete three genealogy goals. Now it's time to report on our ultimate progress. You can read Amy's report here.

    Our goal was to accomplish three genealogy-related goals, one each for organizing, research. and writing. We decided to break it into categories for variety and to challenge ourselves in areas we needed a bit of a nudge.

    Amy really kicked-off the Year End Report season with news of her first published e-book! Last year's dream is now a reality with The Big Genealogy Blog Book, and I am excited to think that I was there at the beginning when Amy said something about wanting to write "a little e-book." Little e-book, indeed! The Big Genealogy Book is eleven chapters filled with great ideas for blog posts, encouragement for stalled bloggers, and topics for improving your genealogy expertise. It's proof-published that goal setting works. Congrats, Amy!  She finished her other big goal too, and you can read all about it at The WeTree Genealogy Blog.

    I would like to say that I was able to make it to the finish-line on all my goals, but life has a way of happening. In all kinds of ways.

    My goals for 2011:

    Organization Goal -- To get my digital life in order. My move from PC to Mac left my digital files in a turmoil and I am pleased to report that I was able to successfully complete this goal and am now a happy and well-backed up Mac user. I have moved all my photos to an external hard drive that is backed up to a second external drive, and I also run the Mac Time Machine back-up system to keep regular back ups of all my ongoing work. No more nightmares.

    Research Goal -- To figure out the Chamblin/Chamberlain/Chamberlin link in my family tree. I was making pretty good progress with this and planned to do some onsite research in Springfield, Illinois at FGS, but then, life happened. Instead of going to FGS, I stayed home to say goodbye to my dear aunt who passed away August 30, and then to say hello to my new grandson in early September. The Chamblins have been waiting for a long time, they just have to wait a little longer.

    Writing Goal -- To reproduce Aunt Mercy's beautiful genealogy book and share it withe the extended family. It's a gorgeous hand-painted and hand calligraphied work filled with narrative, pedigree charts, and a good deal of "speculative family history." It's too good to be kept in a box in the dark. My plan was to incorporate it in a larger family history and reproduce the artwork, but instead, I think I might like to transcribe the pages and print text opposite a full page reproduction. A short biography of Mercy might round out the book.

    Although I didn't complete this goal, I am pleased with the progress I made. I was able to scan and photograph each page and begin transcribing some of the more dense narrative. The pedigree charts are very creative and will be a more of a challenge.

    My Big News

    Oh, and did I add that my biggest goal (not appearing on the list, but drifting around my head) is also in progress? Yes, I'm writing a book!

    Organize Your Family Archive will be out this summer from F+W Media. It's packed with practical ideas for working with family stuff, organizing your inherited treasures, and preserving memorabilia for future generations. I am madly writing every day and loving every minute. It's a lot of work, but great fun to spend time thinking and writing about my passion. Right now, I'm working toward the final manuscript deadline, so I'd better get back to work.

    Join Us in 2012

    P.S. -- Yes, Amy and I did make a few Genealogy Goals for 2012 and will post them in the new year. We are anxiously waiting to hear a Year End Report from our greatest challengers, the Northern California team of Sheri Fenley The Educated Genealogist and Cheryl of Heritage Happens. Well, team NoCal?

    If you want to join us in 2012, find a Genealogy Buddy, set three goals, and write about them on your blog. Add a comment and link to your post in the Comments of this article; I will post a round-up of the buddy-teams in January and Amy and I will do our best to keep the up the momentum in 2012.

    There are no rules for this challenge! It's not a competition. Do what works to give yourself the nudge and encouragement to accomplish something you want to do genealogy-wise in the next twelve months. If you want to keep your goals private, try writing them on a piece of paper and sealing them in an envelope. You know what they are, and your blogging buddy can still send you a little nagging email once in a while to remind you to check the envelope.



    The Big Book That Could: Announcing Amy Coffin's New Blog Book


    Goals really do come true could be the 2011 motto for Amy Coffin who is the author of a brand new, hot off the presses e-book on genealogy blogging. My preview copy arrived this morning and delivers everything you might expect from the author of the WeTree blog -- great ideas, lots of encouragement, witty language, and clear direct style.

    The Big Genealogy Blog Book: 201 Topics Plus Tips and Tricks for Your Genealogy Blog presents just about everything a genealogy blogger needs to write better articles, connect with readers, encourage comments, and come up with new ideas. The book also includes a helpful encore of Amy's popular 52 Weeks... series on better genealogy and blogging.

    It hardly seems like nearly a year has gone by since Amy and I met for our ritual holiday meet-up while she was in town visiting her in-laws. We must have been feeling spunky, or bored, or both, because our happy-hour conversation shifted from current research to "So, what are your New Year's Genealogy Resolutions?" After some amount of head scratching we each came up with three things we wanted to accomplish in the next twelve months: a research goal, an organizational goal, and a writing goal.

    Amy has completed all three goals with nearly two months to spare. Lucky us, because her latest project gives the rest of us lots of ideas to get through these holiday weeks with fresh ideas for our blogs.

    Congratulations, Amy! I am looking forward to our annual meeting and your goals for 2012.

    What You Will Find in 
    The Big Genealogy Blog Book:
    201 Topics Plus Tips and Tricks for Your Genealogy Blog

    • Why Start a Genealogy Blog?
    • 6 Blogging Myths
    • Tips for Writing Good Blog Posts
    • How to Get More Blog Readers
    • How to Get More Blog Comments
    • Quality Control: A Blogger's Checklist
    • Jump Start Your Genealogy Blog: 52 Ideas, 52 Weeks
    • 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy
    • 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History
    • 25 Great Topics for Genealogy Society Blogs
    • 20 Blog Topics for Professional Genealogists

    Now available as an e-book download through Lulu and Amazon Kindle PDF and EPUB

    Amazon Kindle


    What I Learned About the Future of Genealogy from Running a Student Genealogy Grant, or A New Challenge for the Genealogy Community

    When we decided to set up a memorial grant as a tribute to my mother, Suzanne Freeman, I had no idea it would be so hard to give away money.

    It sounds easy enough, but it’s tough to select between so many well-deserving applicants representing the future of genealogy. From academically trained researchers to local society volunteers to tech-savvy innovators, applicants to the 2011 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Fund represented the best of young genealogists today.

    What I Learned

    It was truly a privilege to learn more about what matters to young researchers and to see that a common theme runs strong from coast to coast – it’s all about family. Without exception, each applicant was moved to pursue their family history because one person in their family had taken the time to tell a family story that struck home.

    The lesson for the rest of us, of course, is to take time to BE that one person to the young people in our families. We have to step back from our books, papers, and computers to just tell stories in a way that engages our children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

    In the same way that we labor over developing a well-honed research plan to ferret out elusive ancestors, we have to listen hard and work to craft stories that may catch some young person’s interest. Tell the young athlete about an uncle who played ball, give a pre-teen her grandmother’s party gloves with a story about her first dance, or help a new bride with an old family recipe.

    The Challenge

    All of this leaves me feeling that we, as a Genealogy Community, could do more

    We need to “Walk Your Talk,” as my mom often said. We hear a lot of talk about “the future of genealogy”. . . but what are we doing to help the young genealogist learn enough about the field to want to make it a serious avocation or even a career? 

    Students who applied for the Memorial Grant are all attending school, working jobs, and living on a tight budget with little room for genealogy expenses. Yet, it’s hard to find a genealogy conference, event, or seminar offering a discounted student rate. Students are expected to pay full price, or apply for one of the very few genealogy grants available.

    If there was an obvious youthful presence at RootsTech in Salt Lake City last month, it may be partly due to the discounted student registration fee of $35. Sponsored by Family Search, this sends a clear message to any student interested in genealogy today: We Want You!

    SCGS is one of the few genealogical organizations offering a substantial membership discount for students. When combined with Early Bird Registration for Jamboree, this can offer a real savings for student attendees. And, kudos to SCGS for donating a free three-day registration to the grant recipient, only hours after hearing the grant announcement.  

    Reading applications for the Student Genealogy Grant left me with three wishes –

    • I wish each applicant could be awarded a student genealogy grant to encourage their work.
    • I wish professional societies and event sponsors would make it easier for students to join professional organizations and to attend conferences by offering drastically discounted student rates.
    • I wish more organizations would take a cue from the Southern California Genealogical Society and offer full-registration scholarships to their events. 

    Maybe then we would see a real burst of new leaves in our great genealogy family.


    January Update on 2011 Genealogy Resolutions with Blogging Buddy, Amy Coffin

    Did you know that Januarius had 29 days until Julius added two more, giving us more time to set our proverbial goals and exercise plans in place before February came crashing in? Too true! 



    The Roman God, Janus, patron of gates and doorways is often shown with two faces looking opposite directions. Like me, he must not know if he is coming or going at times.

    So, here it is the last days of January (on the new calendar) and time to report my progress thus far toward those Genealogy Resolutions set with Amy Coffin in the optimistic days of December. Amy posted her first update January 10, while I was still debating whether to take down the holiday decorations or "work" on those genea-goals. Guess what won out?

    Christmas in Pasadena is merely a prelude to The Big Day of the Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl football game. Each year the city has an influx of visitors numbering in the tens of thousands, so that by December 30 it's a good idea to make a big pot of chili and put the car in the garage for a few days. It's also a great time to tackle a Big Project.

    The first goal I tackled was the Organizational Goal (a big one in multiple parts):

    1. Clean up my Mac after the transfer from PC
    2. Investigate new options in genealogy database programs for the Mac
    3. Move photos to an external drive
    4. Get back-up plan in place


    When the helpful folks at the local Apple Store moved my email over to my new iMac, they also moved my pictures and files. This would have been fine except every single file, photo, and document on my lovely new Mac now had the new embedded date of July 18, 2038.

    Obviously, this had to be fixed. A call to Apple Support advised me to reformat my hard drive and start over. Not fun. The alternative was to dump all the files and move over the originals with the correct dates. Either way you look at it, a laborious project. Actually a perfect project for New Year's in Pasadena. In between toasts to 2011 and parade reruns, I was able to cleanup the situation. I now have my old files on my new machine, and can access them by the correct dates. I checked off Part 1 of my Organization Goal and moved on to Part 2: "investigate new options in genealogy database programs."

    I knew it would be distracting to take down the Christmas tree, so I turned on the twinkling white lights and spent a week or so investigating Mac genealogy database software. This was an education in itself and worthy of at least one more post. I downloaded trial versions, ran through my list of essentials and generally kicked the tires of what is available. To be fair, I did not ignore the option of running a Windows program on the Mac through Parallels, Boot Camp, or VMFusion. If I research this topic much more I will never move forward; time to check off "Research" and make a decision. More on this later.

    Between testing software and lurking in forums, I also managed to move my photos to an external hard drive and get reacquainted with my absolute favorite photo management program, Adobe Lightroom. Since I was in a testing software mood, I also tried iPhoto, but found it just couldn't handle my tagging needs. Also bought and installed Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, my favorite easy photo editing program.

    I know I really need to do the last step in this goal, the back up plan, but, hey, the Christmas tree was losing needles so fast I thought I was risking fire as well as data crash. I finally got the tree out in time for the Martin Luther King holiday.

    All that computer work made me feel a little guilty that I was ignoring my Writing Goal. I decided to take a lesson from my teaching days and Plan a bit before putting words on paper. First step for the family history I want to republish is to scan Aunt Mercy's Winsor Genealogy -- task completed and images stashed on my external drive. I also finished an article on photo preservation and sent that off to the editor. I am moving forward on this goal.

    Regretfully, progress toward the research goal = zero.

    Amy, how am I doing? We do have the Overachievers reputation to maintain with Sheri Fenley and Cheryl Palmer. Maybe we should take them on, sort of a team challenge. What do you say, ladies?




    Find us on Google+