Question of the Week: Do you set weekly genealogical goals? If so, what do you want to accomplish this week?

+24 votes
Feel free to share your research plans and other tips you have, especially for people just starting out.
asked in The Tree House by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (244k points)
retagged by Abby Glann
My weekly goal???  More like a daily goal that I have been working on for years and cannot find an answer.  I made a deathbed promise of sorts to my father's sister, my aunt.  Her sister Eleanor Maud Evans had been born in Romford, England in 1906.  The same year my grandparent's emigrated to Canada, arriving in June 1906 aboard the Dominion.  They were Christopher W Evans and Elizabeth Ann Chilcott.  With them their children Christopher, Gertrude and infant Eleanor.   They were to be deported as Christopher their son was deaf and mute.  Thought he might be a drain on the system.  He wasn't.  They lived in Stratford, Ontario. The 1911 census includes Eleanor (Nellie) is still with them.  After that she disappears, vanishes.  I have heard stories that she was sent to England to see her grandmother Shew.  No records support this.  I have heard she was abducted in Toronto at eight years old.  Nothing to substantiate this.  I am almost at my wit's end.  I have checked deaths, ships manifests and can find nothing to substantiate either claim.  So daily I always give a little time to search for Nellie M. Evans.  Perhaps one day.
I am working on digging up family and trying to match my DNA every day, Since I am new I have no clue as to what I am doing...I am taking my time, as not to make many mistake's or none if possible!
I feel the exact same way, I'm also new to this and I'm hoping to be able to trace my lineage back, non of my living relatives are willing to give me the needed information I require, so I'm going it alone.
Good Question! After swearing many times that I would never upload another gedcom, I did it and it worked so much better this time! I'm so happy!!! But, I have about 115 profiles to go through to bring to a higher standard, categorize and link. About 30 minutes + or - per profile, 5-10 per day, piece of cake right?
My Goal is to find where to go to for Midwives, Lists. for the states of Virginia and West Virginia.
Everyday I try to find time to go back to my profiles and see if there is anything I might of messed up on. I have been also trying to find a way to add my DNA to family members that have already been tested. Also have been in touch with a few memorial parks to find family. I am having some problems with connecting so many different different areas an it can be a bit much..Some times I feel like I am getting close to figuring out how to connect the dots & then I hit a brick wall....I am not a quitter so the work must continue and I just have to take it slow because I am making myself anxious...Could always use a helping hand ..Thank You!
This week I am trying to add my DNA to the family tree, I have been trying and have figured it out yet.. My struggle continues!
@Donna: Don't be shy about posting a question in G2G asking for help!! We have plenty of people who are quite familiar with the DNA features here, and I'm sure they'd be happy to help. :-)
I need help uploading my DNA to my family tree so I can add it to my family line.I have a lot of family connection that go very far back, but I don't know how to get to them and instead of making a mess of things I need help..Thank you..
I'm in the same boat. I did for years. They wouldn't allow me back on my first attempt to trace our ancestory. I had to start all over. So I did. Now here I am again. 9 years of work  because I'm tired of them charging me for each bit of information I get. I'm trying this site.

 No idea what I'm doing. But we will figure it out.

25 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer

My general goals for this year are:

  • add a short story to my family history journal
  • add something to the British Columbia Project, cite it and add categories. I'd like to do a whole profile, but that is dependent on size and sources.
  • spend at least an hour on finishing touches to my Thomson family history
This week, I am doing 
  • Profiles of the Gartrell fruit farming family of the Okanagan Valley for the British Columbia project. (Gartrell-71)
  • Reviewing the family of Samuel Francis Johnston (Johnston-4582), part of the Thomson family history.
answered by Judith Chidlow G2G6 Mach 1 (13.7k points)
selected by Anonymous DiLuvio
+22 votes
More of a daily goal, of taking at least one of those unconnected (0 connections), unsourced, profiles - find their identity, sourced them and if possible, link them to their family.  Very slow and tedious but uplifting when successful.

Surprisingly the easiest one, so far, had just a first name, but complete dates and places - top of the list on FS results, was her :D Usually takes 1/2 hour + to figure out who they are and often have to give up, due to no possible matches or too many possible matches and can't figure out which one they are.

As a weekly goal, would like to spend a little time on my own tree twig, once in a while. Those profiles are far from perfect, but there are always other tree branches in far worse shape and in need of attention :(((
answered by Patricia Roche G2G6 Pilot (282k points)
That sounds like a commendable goal, Pat!

And I agree, there is never enough time to work on our own families. :-)
I wonder what FS results stands for? You might be searching in a way I don't know about. Might learn something!
FS = Family Search website, which is my favorite and first stop on a sourcing hunt. Once I've gathered all the available data from there, I move on to other websites.
FamilySearch perhaps. I'm currently using this free service to both obtain & share data, with great results.
+17 votes
Not so much weekly because I'm still trying to get my overly large gedcom cleaned up. I usually select one of the sources that I imported, do a google search on for that source, and work through the profiles that come up.

Right now I'm working on all the profiles that were sourced from "The Heritage of Union County, North Carolina: 1842-1992" by Virginia A. S. Kendrick Bjorlin. Each profile gets cleaned up, primary sources for each fact are found, etc. There were 22 of them; I'm about half way through.
answered by Debi Hoag G2G6 Pilot (185k points)
That's a really interesting approach, Debi!

I've heard of others working from a specific source, too. I kind of like the idea of that because you're likely to be able to tie together people that may not have been associated before.

Sometimes when I'm working from a census listing, I'll page back and forth to see who the neighbors were so that I can see if they're listed on WikiTree yet. This helps me to distinguish between people with similar names, too.
I do that sometimes. Sometimes I'll go through all the birth records for a town. While working on the LDS Mexican Colonias, there were a few US towns where I went through the entire town on the 1920 US Census. There's limits to working from indexed records, and there can be serendipitous discoveries. And, like when looking at graveyards, you can glean useful info because of proximity.
I wished I knew what you were talking about. Makes absolutely none to me. I'm brand new to this site. So different from

Hi Debby,

You're right, WikiTree is very different from Ancestry. The main difference, in my opinion, is the way that you tell someone how you know something. On Ancestry, you can attach a document to a person. On WikiTree, you describe the document and tell where to find it.

I don't know what part of it you'd like to learn but, just in case it's how to add a source to WikiTree, I'll describe how to do that.

Take a look at your parents' profiles on Ancestry. You may have a census record attached to one or both of them, probably living with their parents. If you do, it will show up in the center column named sources. If you click the view button that appears when your mouse is on that source, a window appears that includes a Citation link on the left hand side. Clicking that link will change the information in the box to the description of the census record. It would include something like this from my Dad's record close to the top (without the red part, I'll explain that below) :


Year: 1940; Census Place: Cooks, Fulton, Georgia; Roll: T627_674; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 60-1; McGee family

To add the census record here on WikiTree, copy that information. Now, go to your parent's profile, click on the Edit tab, and paste in at least that much information. I like to add at least the family name (the part in red above). If there are more than one family of the same name on the page, you could add the first names or anything else that describes the family

Other researchers will be able to use that information to find the family on a census record. Let me know if you have questions about this or anything else. I'll be glad to try to help. You can send me a private message if you'd like to.

+20 votes
I check out G2G 2 or 3 times a day. Then I give out thank yous to everyone that has volunteered and everyone who has earned a new badge.

At the beginning of the month I work on earning my 1000 contributions badge, in my free time. Any other free time I have is spent sourcing profiles on my other computer on a different program other than Wikitree. It is my big tree I have been working on for 29 years. Someday I might have it all in Wikitree. I add sources even if it is just a newspaper clipping stating that someone came over to visit. That type of source lets me know that they were in the area at that time period. I enter all of my sources by hand, so it takes awhile. It make it easier to read when they are type in. I do enjoy sourcing when I find time.
answered by John Noel G2G6 Pilot (689k points)
That is fantastic, John!

You should know that your hospitality has not gone unnoticed, by the way! :-D
Thank you Julie!
You are always so amazing kind to everyone, it is so nice to meet people like you on wikkitree John Noel.
I think hand entry makes for cleaner profiles with less errors. You get typos, and occasional errors on connections. But overall, it leaves a lot less mess behind for others to clean up.  So, three cheers!
+17 votes

This week the goal is zero d b errors on the 1782 profiles I am taking care of. Result . one d b error is waiting on a merge process to remedy and I have 24 new " d b error # 821 Headings starts with blank" that I finished correcting today.

 I am working as a team member on the "  October 2016 Sourcerers Challenge! " this week and plan to add 40 more sourced and developed profiles from the unsourced list. 

This week I am returning to profiles I first started 12 months ago when I joined WikiTree and updating the profiles with the WikiTree Methods, Policies and Styles knowledge and tools I have gathered since then.

C'est Bon    

answered by Jerry Baraboo G2G6 Pilot (443k points)
Lofty and admirable goals, Jerry!

C'est Bon Julie Ricketts

Update: Completed the sourcing goal. Completed the d b error goal.(Pending confirmation next Monday) 

The method I am using to update the 1782 profiles is selecting those profiles whose birthday falls in each WikiTree monthly birthday report for updating and developing. For me that makes it fun, respectful, manageable and an automatic weekly, monthly and year end goal. 

The Best To You and Your Family Trees

and Your Weekly Goals !   

+17 votes

I am working on the 31 Days to Better Genealogy course by Amy Johnson Crow and today was Day 17. It is worth the time and actually supports a lot of what I have been telling others already as well as providing a lot of good links to places to find sources. Other than that I have just been trying to find sources for profiles that have none, I did at least 3 today, and just trying to answer some questions on G2G.

answered by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
Today's task was interview yourself, that way your grandchildren will not have to say I wish I could ask my grandparents what their life was like.
I started that course earlier this year, Dale, and ran out of time to work on it. Perhaps that will be my goal for 2017.  

I love the interviewing yourself plan!
I set my profile so that the biography is able to be viewed by all and plan to add at least one of the "interview questions each day to the Working Notes section and incorporate them into the biography.
Great idea!!
So true on "interview yourself." One thing in a related vein I wish people did better is label their photographs. I have too many handed down photographs with no one left to ask about who the people are who are in them. In one case, I have a carte de visite of some German ancestors. I know whose parents they are, but not even their names, never mind dates!
+19 votes

Hi All,

My plans this week is to continue on with my Generation 9 Database errors corrections and begin Generation #10 corrections and clean-Up.

Also continue to source those profiles that are on the unsourced list or in one of my six Name Study groups that I have.

This is in between my normal volunteer jobs with various projects like greeter, mentor, volunteer coordinator etc. And my favorite, help keep up with g2g questions that I can help answer or direct to a source or two. That should keep me busy.

answered by Dorothy Barry G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
You are busy, busy, busy, Dorothy!!! Good luck getting through all the things you've planned, and thank you for all that you're doing for the tree. :-)
+16 votes
I set daily, weekly and monthly goals by taking advantage of the scratch pad on my navigation page. It's fun to be able to delete items so I feel like I'm actually making progress!

My mother's two sisters both gave up their homes to move into assisted living over the summer so my cousins have been giving me boxes and boxes of pictures to sort through, scan and return to whichever branch of the family or friends they belong. My goal is to complete at least one stack per week and get them mailed off.

My progress has been significantly held up by a broken computer that barely limps along despite hours each day with tech support. One of these days I'm hoping they will finally admit defeat and just send me a new computer since it is only 6 months old and still under warranty. ;-D
answered by Alison Andrus G2G6 Mach 4 (44.9k points)
Alison! You appear so cheerful re: the computer! haha

Good luck with all those pictures. I find tasks like that be all-consuming because it's so easy to get lost in there. ;-)
My computer has been broken since early August, so after all this time, all I can do is find the humor! ;-D My own detective work took me to an online forum where most agreed the problem is the mouse drivers not working in Windows 10. I ctrl+alt+delete to get the mouse working again but it only works for a few minutes before it goes haywire and thinks I'm holding down the scroll wheel again. Others report that this happens whether they are using a touchpad, wired or wireless mouse. I've tried using a few different ones myself along with trying different USB ports, so I know it's the computer and not the mouse itself.

The good news is I finally uncovered my living room floor where I had initially sorted out all the boxes of pictures! ;-) Most piles are now gone, back in the office or sorted into photo boxes. But I admit I'm going to be very happy when this project is finished! ;-D
The mouse thing sounds very frustrating! I applaud your sense of humor about it. ;-)

And hooray for getting the floor back!
+12 votes

I have so many to-list goals. LOL They never seem to get done because I bounce around a lot either because I get bored and move to something else for a bit or I find a new cousin and start trying to get as much info as possible from them.

My main goals tend to be:

  • Clean up the database (Names, dates, locations, add alternate names, etc) - Currently working on the Dyess section of my database before the reunion on the 29th and I am 1/3 of the way throug the Dyess names and have to go until I reach the Moran's.
  • Add sourcing to everyone.. this takes me a bit longer as I put a person in at a time into Ancestry then look for sources. Still trying to get my Isaac Shockey line finished.
  • Re-source the Shockey Chronicles into my database.
  • Finish sourcing the Shockey Family & History books into my database.
  • Eventually get my Lail's sourced and added to from the Lail's in America books.
Anyways.. I have a lot of goals and try to get pieces done so eventually it's all done in time. :) And as I get things done I and sourced I hope to load to WikiTree. 
Real thankful to finally learn about this Session Buddy app... I am behind on some lines because my computer would restart and I would lose all my tabs to keep up with where I was at in the database on sourcing in Ancestry. :(
answered by Charlotte Shockey G2G6 Pilot (858k points)

Hmmm ... this sounds vaguely familiar:

I bounce around a lot either because I get bored and move to something else for a bit or I find a new cousin and start trying to get as much info as possible from them.


+10 votes
I don't set any particular weekly goals typically.  I work on my family tree when I have time since I'm so busy.  Some days I have more time than others.  I do set "objectives" but I do not put a time limit on them.
answered by Amy W G2G6 Mach 1 (15.2k points)
+8 votes
I don't have any formal goals, but I'll usually decide to focus on a single task per day.  Like, today I'm going to source profiles, and tomorrow I'll probably work on my notable Baha'i profiles, and the day after I might clean up some of my own family...
answered by Vicky Majewski G2G6 Mach 6 (63.6k points)
+8 votes

I don't set weekly genealogical goals, although that might be a good idea.

I'm still on the quest for finding where exactly Josef Drozda and Anna Hoffman were born. I've gone through over 200 Czech parish registers this past week alone. I don't even speak Czech. I'm pretty sure I've found most every Drozda born in the 1800s except for mine.

As for people just starting out... a tip.

Don't be intimidated by records in languages you don't know. Google Translate is your friend. Even if you have to clunkily try to figure out what the words are in that really ornate but hard-to-read script, you'll find yourself learning how people of the times and areas wrote things (... thanks for making D's look like F's, Czechia) and if you keep trying, you'll eventually find the records you're looking for in particular. It worked for me for Italian records. It can work for you, too.

answered by G. Bartomeo G2G6 Mach 7 (76.4k points)
+9 votes
My goal right now is to improve the sourcing of the profiles I manage.  Since the Rootsearch button was added, it is much easier to add sources now. I have found a few that I never sourced, and hadn't touched in a long time.
answered by Kristin Merritt G2G6 Mach 1 (14.5k points)
+8 votes
I am working through my watchlist from A - Z tidying and sourcing profiles and getting as much bio done as I can find.  I have been working on this since 2013, taking time out to do an ONS (only 200 names) and its website.

I have reached the name Cornwell, so a long way to go yet - and this morning I checked out the new tool that recognises problems in biographies and most of my profiles from Cornwell onwards are in there!  I'll be a while yet.

And in between I have picked up some orphaned profiles and done a bit on the Source-a-thon.

So perhaps my weekly goal should be to complete one letter of the alphabet in my watchlist.  Is that achievable?  I'll try!
answered by Christine Searle G2G6 Mach 1 (16.6k points)
+8 votes
My goal this week has been to relook at the auDNA test results I have and determine connections. I have quite a mystery that may have DNA be the answer to. My MRCA with my 2nd cousin once removed, Roy Johnson, did not know his birth parents. I have found 4 other people (3 of which have responded to emails) that share a common area of DNA with us both. I am hoping that by comparing their trees and mine (which includes my cousin's) that this 110 year old mystery might be solved!
answered by Ron Norman G2G6 Mach 3 (39.3k points)
+8 votes
Try to get research material from canadian library as a owner library loan.

1858 royal gazette PEI

Cdn national library refuses saying I must travel across country or hire a researcher. Limited due to disability.


To track Peter William costello death notice to get birthdate. With that get birth info from windgap Kilkenny Ireland.
answered by
+6 votes
Are you kidding me?? Set Goals????? just as I'm about to finish something, I get sidetracked, and NOTHING gets done.
answered by Lynette Jester G2G6 Mach 3 (36.5k points)
You never know what surprises are just around the corner. It's part of the fun, IMO. I remind myself that it's never finished, can never be finished. And you always have to turn your back on one good and interesting lead to pursue another. It will always be thus.
I know how you feel, Lynette!  I call that WikiTree ADD. ;-)
Well, just add that to the rest of my genie OCD/ADD.


Elizabeth, you are right, if I don't follow the lead I find, I may not find it again. But does it have to hit when I have 100 things on my plate?

Lynette --

When I find myself in that type of situation, I'll sometimes start a spreadsheet with the profiles I need to continue work on. Sometimes, I'll just make a bookmarks folder. AND ... I've also found a Chrome extension called OneTab that allows me to save a set of tabs in a group so that I can come back to them later when I have time. 

It looks like this:

Thanks Julie, I'll have to see if Firefox has one.  And I do use spreadsheets That have to remember which flash drive I put them all on.
+8 votes
I want to continue sourcing, starting with my profiles. Also I have been working on connecting profiles. I am going through my books and other sources to fill in the tree. With the source-athon and increased work I am aiming for 1000 contributions in October.
answered by Sue Hall G2G6 Mach 7 (78.1k points)
+9 votes

I've been working on LDS Mexican Colonias, a sub-project of the LDS project for most of this year. In the next week or so, I'm planning to wind up my work on that. I have tagged/added over 2000 profiles for the category. It's been very informative -- if you don't know about the Mormon westward migration, you don't really know how the American West was settled. In the process, I managed to connect to numerous small clusters of unconnected profiles. But I'm just about ready to move on. Mostly tying up loose ends now.

I'm ready for my next undertaking, about the people that have counties named after them in the USA. I've done a lot of prep work already, in a giant spreadsheet of over 1400 people. Some have WikiTree profiles, some connected some not. I've got Wikipedia or other starter links for most of them. It was some effort to find dates for some of them. There's some Saints (Santa Clara &c) that might be advisable to skip, and some Indians, too, from the time before written records.

I don't set goals weekly, or even track the numbers. But I do have a goal this week. I've got instructions and I'm going to set up the category page for Namesakes US Counties. Never done that before. First thing I can do is go through and tag the existing, connected profiles. That shouldn't take long as I've already got them all marked in the spreadsheet. Next will be the ones with unconnected profiles; connecting can take awhile, so connecting over 100 unconnected profiles will take into next year. Once I've got it set up, others will be welcome to contribute, should they be so inclined, which might move it along a bit.

Every so often, I take a side trip. No telling when they'll crop up. Lately, for example, I took side trips to connect when I came across names from my own ancestry. Lately, that has been Eddy, Fairchild, Hatch & Kellogg. And from time to time, I'll pick an unconnected notable and work on connecting them, or even add a new one. For example, I worked on honoring the memory of Arnold Palmer by creating a profile and connecting him.

There is a fundamental change in focus for the upcoming. There'll be one of my periodic reviews of the whole Watch List, too. You never know when an outstanding request as been acted on!

There's always plenty to do.

answered by Elizabeth Winter G2G6 Mach 6 (60.1k points)
Your project for people that have US counties named after them sounds interesting.  Being from Georgia, I always wondered how they came up with so many different names for all those counties.
+8 votes
I had two real goals when I started researching, to find out about my great grandmother from Norway and to discover the facts about a German ancestor who immigrated before the Revolutionary War.

      Only two days ago, after some 45 years of research, I may have found my greatgrandmother's parents via the 1870's U.S. census, though many things are still unclear.  My German pre-revolutionary ancestor remains as vague as ever.

      On the other hand, I have found out TONS about all other ancestors, much of it via  So I am not discouraged, and just hope more facts about my goal ancestors come to light.
answered by Dan Sparkman G2G6 Mach 1 (16k points)

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