I just reviewed my New Year's Resolutions for 2011 and am sad to say that I didn't do very well keeping them. Actually, I failed miserably.
Was I too ambitious in vowing to devote one full day to filing papers? Was it too much when I promised not to laugh when someone talked about their Cherokee Indian princess ancestor? Was it over the top when I said I would not poke fun at the genealogist who declared her whole lineage was online, minus the sources, of course? Yep, guilty on all three promises!
So, let's try something different this year. No promises; no vows. Let's be realistic here. Resolutions are made to be broken by the middle of January so, instead of Resolutions, I'll make Goals. No promises, just goals. Here goes:
My Number One Goal is to take everything in stride. I will not get upset if I don't find the definitive proof that my Morgan Smith descended from Capt. John Smith (1580-1631), friend of Pocahontas. If it turns out Morgan descends from a plain old, everyday Smith family, I won't wring my hands, wail and beat my chest.
My Number Two Goal is to spread the word on attaching sources to every fact not of common knowledge. No more "Kentucky History Book" or "Tennessee Marriage Records." I can do this; I know I can!
My Number Three Goal is to have fun chasing these people. I'll smile when I learn my ancestor had no birth record - that's just a minor setback, right? I'll laugh when no marriage record is found - think of it as a challenge. I'll clap my hands when no death record appears. I'm smiling, I'm laughing, I'm clapping my hands. Am I having fun yet?
Seriously, folks, genealogy should be fun. It isn't the end of the world if vital records are missing. There is usually a substitute record somewhere ... isn't there?