Okay, so were now in the second week of 2012 and your inbox has probably been filled with ideas for potential goals for the next twelve months.

If you’re like the majority of people, administrative and clerical tasks are considered mundane chores in comparison with all the interesting research you do to find who or what you’re looking for.

Now is the time to prioritize the deceptively simple suggestions you often get from Ancestry and others that you already know are important but fall into the category of things that can be put off ‘til later:  

Backup your data

How many times have you thought about how important it is to backup your files and decided to put it off until later. If you use desktop genealogy software and shut it down it takes a few moments to create a backup file. This is great. Not so fast…if your computer crashes the data so diligently backed up by your system could be lost forever. You really need to have a backup to backup the backup. It could be a flash driver or you might want to consider a remote location. There are some that offer a reasonable amount of space for free. Here’s a link to an article I wrote about offsite storage last year

Digitize your photographs and research documentation

If you have a mountain of photographs and hard copies of documentation that you’ve been thinking about digitizing, consider setting aside some time to get started. It’s another of those tasks that everyone wants to but just find the time among all the other things that need to get done. I’ve actually written time in my planner to do this so it’s scheduled just like the dentist and other important stuff. You’ll probably have to sort them into categories and have a labeling (who, what when etc) system before you actually start the digitization process. You might also want to share copies with family members. Take heart, it’s a 2012 year-long project not a 4 week rush.

Make sure everything has a source and double check to make sure you’ve found the right person

When I started my family history research a few years ago I was so caught up in finding my ancestors and collecting mounds of information that I fell into the trap into which many beginners fall by not carefully citing my sources. I thought I’d go back and do it later and press on with the good stuff. Well I did go back to do this and found a couple of nasty surprises. One, I found the documentation in a variety of different online databases and discovered that I wasn’t able to accurately label too many of them. I also spent time researching the wrong person and invested a lot of time and some money too.  It’s also really important to be able to share information with other family members that’s as accurate as possible.

Involve and inform family members

After all your hard work you want to keep family members informed—just in case. This is the time to show them what you’re doing and have them participate in the process. If they don’t know or understand how much you’ve done unless they participate and understand the process.

For me, this is the year. How about you?

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