Taking Back What Was Once Lost

Genealogy Dreams and Goals

The holidays always get me even more reflective than usual, which is pretty hard to do for such an analytical person as myself. I was thinking the other day: in terms of my genealogy research , what would be my dream find or dream occurrence?

Of course, like all of you, you know there’s not just one. But here’s my list of what I would consider the answer to my genealogy dreams:

  1. To discover where and when the slaveowner Giles Holt acquired my ancestor, Malinda.
  2. To discover anything about the Georgia roots of my ancestor John Smith (arrgghhhh).
  3. To connect with any living descendants of my John Smith and Walter Springer lines (beyond the very few that I personally know.)
  4. To find out where, and possibly find the headstone of, my ggrandfather Daniel G. Waters.
  5. To find a picture of my ancestor Margaret Barnes.
  6. For closed record states not to exist.
  7. For the ability to order FHC microfilm online, instead of having to go there in person.
  8. For the Social Security Administration to have mercy on us po’ struggling genealogists, and cut us a discount on those SS5s.
  9. For me to not have to still work full-time, and be able to spend all day researching, transcribing, compiling & meeting with my genealogy buddies.
  10. For the fires that destroyed the 1890 census and the bulk of 20th century Army records to not have happened!
  11. For more interest on the part of family members in preserving our precious family history.
  12. For my two grandparents, Luther Holt & Pauline Waters, to magically come back to life so I could actually interview them about their families. Hey–we are dreaming right?

I also read an intriguing article in the NGS Magazine where the President called upon us to make a list of our genealogy goals for the year. So, while my dreams at the moment remain only that, I’d like to share my tangible goals for the year as well:

  1. Publish at least 3 articles about my family in various journals and newsletters.
  2. Finish adding complete source citations to my genealogy software program & my Ancestry online family trees.
  3. Distribute the documented family history on at least 3 of my lines to the Library of Congress, the archives of that line’s state, the public library of the county and the county’s historical society. My descendants will find my work!
  4. Contribute at least 3 bodies of work to the genealogical community to help others–abstracts, transcriptions, compilations, etc.
  5. Continue to meet and encourage others to research & especially to publish our histories.

So…what are YOUR genealogy dreams and goals?


  1. December 8, 2009    

    I’ve been thinking about my own goals for 2010. Maybe if I actually list them on the blogs, I can stay on track.

  2. December 9, 2009    

    Those are outstanding goals! I’ve been thinking a lot about doing several of the same things, but I’m realizing more and more that my self-training probably isn’t enough to cut it in the “real” genealogy world, so I also plan to take some kind of a class, or at least start attending genealogy workshops to get some more technical training in our field!

  3. December 9, 2009    

    Great goals. I hope you accomplish as many as possible. I’d like to take some courses to help develop my skills, and maybe join a study group. I do have many more. I like the idea of making a list. That will probably help me to get organized and stay focused. Thanks for the idea.

  4. January 20, 2010    

    Fantastic share here and I appreciate your take on things. One thing I’ve noticed is what we think about is 100% what we become. We create our own reality.

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About Me

I blog, teach, write and lecture about family history research and it's just as rewarding today as it was when I began 18 years ago. This lifelong quest has helped me to better know my past and I've taken back--reclaimed- my kin and some of that lost memory.  

Post History

What I Talk About

Locations and Surnames

Hardin, Chester and Lawrence Counties, TN
Holt, Barnes, Harbour, Bradley Springer and Fendricks
Lawrence County, AL
Springer and Fendricks
Montgomery County, MD
Prather, Simpson
Somerset County, MD
Waters, Fountain, Curtis
Duval and Madison County, FL
Smith, Harris, Garner

Favorite Family History Quotes

"The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past."
-William Faulkner

"Call it a clan, call it a network, all it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one"
- Jane Howard

"Friends are God's apologies for relations."
-Hugh Kingsmill

"No matter what you've done for yourself or for humanity, if you can't look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?"
-Elbert Hubbard

"Families are like fudge; mostly sweet with a few nuts."

"If you can't get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you might as well make it dance!"

"Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city;)"
-George Burns

"Where does the family start? It starts with a young man falling in love with a girl. No superior alternative has yet been found."
-Winston Churchill

"The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never ever introduce yourself to had life not done it for you."
-Kendall Hailey

"If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all the generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people."
-Thich Nhat Hanh