So what have I accomplished this year, in the world of genealogy?
First, I've "met" several very helpful people, distant relations and otherwise, who have been willing to give me additional information, or clues, or encouragement, to keep going in my search to find all our ancestors who are still findable. Oh, how I bless you all!
Second, I've ordered Civil War records for three Allen and Harshbarger ancestors, one of whom I didn't even know was a veteran when the year started. All three records are treasures to me, as I learned more about George Allen, William Withers, and David Wise.
Third, I've written about 100 blog posts, most of them brief sketches of immigrant or Revolutionary War ancestors, with a few others thrown in for good measure.
Fourth, with the help of the new probate records on Ancestry.com, I was able to disprove some information on the family tree. While I hated to get rid of that line of people, I'm thrilled to have new families to research, even though right now they are quite challenging.
Fifth, I've been able to locate the wills of quite a few ancestors in the above mentioned probate records, far more than I would have ever been able to locate on my own. My latest find was the 1810 will for my husband's fifth great grandfather, but I've found newer wills and older wills. Of course, there are still many that aren't available, or perhaps records were never created, so I keep hoping for more finds, too.
Sixth, I've learned that I will never be a good organizer, but that I can take baby steps to try to improve as I go along.
Seventh, I've learned that I'll need to consider moving my family tree to another provider, since Family Tree Maker will be ditched by Ancestry. I am still trying to figure out how urgent it is for me to make a change. If I change, it will be a chance for a "do-over" so I can get rid of the many duplicates I currently have in the trees.
Eighth, I've read a lot of books about ancestors or/and their times this year, and have purchased or been given several intriguing reference books to help me understand more. Some are still on order, but all are deeply appreciated.
Ninth, I've filled out a personal memories book for my son's family, and have shared stories with my daughter's family. Their memory books were done earlier, and probably none of the books are the same.
Finally, I've been more intentional about investing time in the lives of my grandchildren. Someday, they may share stories of their craft days with their uncrafty grandmother, or of our shopping expeditions, or of all the books I've read with my grandson, or of how excited we all are as we prepare to welcome another grandchild into the family. Hopefully, this is the greatest "achievement", and the most enjoyable, of all.
I don't know what 2016 will bring in my genealogy world. I hope it will bring breaking down one or more of the brick walls I've written about, but even if it doesn't, there will be joys and new finds along the way, I'm sure. A teacher I had in the fifth grade would not let us leave at the end of the school day unless we could tell her something new we had learned that day, and I still feel that a day without learning something new is a wasted day.