Seasons of Genealogy: 131,400-Minute Check In

Back at the beginning of January I posted about goals and resolutions and setting yourself up for success with your genealogical research in 2019. As difficult as it may be to believe, the first quarter of the year is in the history books. So have you done so far? (If you missed that post, go back and read it. It is never too late to start working!)

My goal for 2019 is to finally complete the first volume of the Franklin genealogy so it can be published this year. It is a major project encompassing more than a decade and a half of work. The final product will be four or five volumes of information on the English ancestry and descendants of Josiah Franklin, father of Dr. Benjamin Franklin.

The volume I am currently working on comprises the first four generations in America, from Josiah to his great-grandchildren—ninety-three family sketches in all.  At the beginning of the year I created a spreadsheet showing what remained to be done for the sketches. This gave me a realistic view of what remained for the largest part of the book (the spreadsheet does not include the preface, introduction, and index).

Spreadsheet for managing progress on the book.

As I look now, the thirteen sketches in generations one and two are completely written, documented, and edited. The third generations, comprising twenty-six sketches, is 85% complete. What remains is only a couple of records to be examined, sources to be reviewed, and final editing of a few of the sketches.

The fourth generation, by far the largest section of the book, contains fifty-two sketches. This section is only about 45% complete, and needs the most work. There is still some minor research to be completed, sources to checked, and writing to be done. Most of the sketches need to be edited. 

At the beginning of the year I set a goal of working at least eight hours a week on the book. Unfortunately, I fell a bit short some weeks (although I did make up some of the time by putting in additional hours on other weeks, I was not always successful). Because of this, I have now re-assessed what it will take to meet the goal of having a book for publication this year. It will definitely require a greater time commitment each week. 

So how have you done with your goal(s)? How much work have you completed? Have you met any of them? Do you need to re-assess? When faced with a situation like mine, there are two options. First, I can allocate more time to the project. If that is not possible, then it is the goal that must be re-adjusted. Based on your current work, what can you complete by the end of the year? The important thing here is not to beat yourself up about meeting the commitment to yourself, it is to examine what you are actually doing and seeing if your original commitment in hindsight is too great. Changing to a realistic time frame for overall completion is fine, as long as you are not constantly changing it to justify not getting the work done. The important thing is to have realistic targets that you can actually meet. This will give you a sense of accomplishment. See you in another 131,400 minutes!

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