My 3 Words for 2014

Thanks to Chris Brogan, CEO of Human Business Works, I adopted a new tradition last year that involves choosing 3 words that would be the action steps I take in my genealogy endeavors for the year. My 3 Words for 2013 were — First. Proof. Publish. 

What went well in 2013?

  • I was very successful in creating those “First” experiences here at Claiming Kin! Adding the “New Here?” page to my blog definitely made everyone who surfed in feel welcomed into the family and given a reason to stick around and connect with me. Therefore the engagements and discussions I had with newly found cousins (online and offline) and visiting researchers who thought the lives of my ancestors were fairly intriguing enough to want to know more about them was — PHENOMENAL!
  • Providing valid “Proof” of my family connections in my research process and citing my sources (APA Style) definitely played a major part in why I had active engagements and discussions here throughout the year!

What didn’t go well in 2013?

  • I didn’t get to “Publish” the eBooks I wanted to. BUT, one of my eBooks for “the beginning genealogy hobbyist” is in progress now. If all goes well, the e-book will be ready Fall 2014 . . . woo-hoo!

My 3 Words for 2014 are:


I believe Lawrence Block, a popular American crime writer, said it best when he penned —

Serendipity. Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you’ve found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for.”

I cannot begin to list all the “unexpected” discoveries I made about one ancestor while searching for another last year. Therefore, I want more of those experiences! But for that to happen, I must remember NOT to make assumptions about any of the resources and records available, online or offline, because I don’t believe my slave ancestors would be found in them. I must explore ALL resources and records with no preconceived ideas about what I will, or won’t, find in them. Genealogy, in a nut-shell, is problem-solving work. So as I go about reconstructing the lives and identities of my ancestors this year (and beyond), I want some serendipity thrown in there for good measure . . . for without it there would be no cool surprises waiting for me along the way!


Slave Ancestry is challenging work and to fully understand the process requires that I have knowledge about the African Diaspora and the slave experience in America! One thing my association with the African American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research Group (AAGSAR) has taught me is how necessary “active” collaboration with like-minded researchers is to my slave research success! Collaborating in this grassroots group has allowed me to help some incredible new family historians with their research, as well as, learn strategies for moving my slave ancestry work “back” beyond the 1870 census. AAGSAR is an interactive genealogy community I’m proud to belong to and more collaboration at this level is a MUST for me!


I believe the time has come for me to learn how to use my DNA data (and my brother’s recent Y-DNA data) to expand my family research! There has been a lot written about genetic genealogy last year; a number of  advancements in this area of study has made it possible for me to decide if I’m related to others with the same surname and to identify my geographic/ethnic ancestral origin. But my real inspiration for wanting to learn how to use my DNA data comes from closely observing the family connections AAGSAR members Kristin Williams, True Lewis, Maurice BellTeresa Vega, and others in the group have blogged about because of DNA testing.  I want to learn as much as I can about this field so that I can use my results to enhance my experience with relatives. Yes indeed! I’m ready for all my genetic testing has to offer!

Have you set some genealogy goals for yourself this year? Yes?! No?! Feel inspired to choose *three* words that would help focus your goals and efforts with your family research this year? If yes, what three words would you choose? Let me know your thoughts, but most of all Happy Ancestor Hunting to you this year!


18 thoughts on “My 3 Words for 2014

  1. I really enjoyed your post. I like the 3 words that you chose. I think all of those are words that would help my research along. I too have done my DNA and others in my family so I can learn more to connect.

    Collaboration has been key with AAGSAR, and I love it. You are so right on with Serendipity. We need serendipity to hang around as much as possible. I look forward to seeing more of your research and posts.


    • Yvette (@Rootdigger2011) it has been wonderful having you a part of the #AAGSAR Family. I’m especially pleased to hear that you are loving the experience! As my gena-buddy Shellye stated in a comment below, serendipity truly makes the whole approach of tracing ancestors a lot fun. I wish you continued success with your family research this year too. Again, thank YOU!


    • Denise (@Deniseroots), thanks so much for your wonderful feedback! And if I have not told you lately what an AWESOME family historian and blogger you are, then hear me now — Denise sis, you are AWESOME! Thank you again for making #AAGSAR the success that it is!


  2. I absolutely LOVE this post Liv & your 2014 research strategy! If I had to apply one word to my research style it would be SERENDIPITY! My “go with the flow” approach has always lead to AMAZING discoveries. When you depend on you LESS, you can lean on the Ancestors MORE. It works! Collaboration? For our research it’s essential, how many times has a different set of eyes revealed something we missed? How comforting is it to share successes, challenges & the brutal truths we find among folks who really understand? And DNA — I’m in school with you! It’s a different branch of the SAME tree – Ancestors! Proud of you & ready for my eBook!:)


    • Luckie (@OurGeorgiaRoots), THANK YOU so much for #AAGSAR!!! You have given us – members & non-members (I’m especially thinking of Nahshon Anderson’s Zephyr Smith Scott right now) – such an AWESOME place for the legacies and memories of our ancestors to live on! Yes indeed, serendipity is definitely your style, and will definitely be a style I’m “claiming” this year as well — LOL!

      Oh and Principal Daniels, I don’t need no DNA test to tell me what “we” already know — This tree has got you covered cause . . . I’m Claiming Kin!


  3. I like your three word choices. They apply and make a lot of sense to me. Thank you for putting into words what I was thinking. Another great post. I wish you nothing but success with your three words.


    • Bernita (@alhupartu) thank you so much for stopping by and for the wonderful feedback about my genealogy goals for this year. Hey they say great minds think a like and I’m especially glad to know our minds are very much in sync with regards to our love for family! I’ll be checking out your genealogy endeavors and progress this year as well. Again, THANK YOU!


  4. Serendipty is certainly the whole aspect of Genealoy research, in fact it has made the whole approach to genealogy interesting. Looking forward to the E-book.


  5. I posted earlier about my genealogy goals for the year, and now I may go back and try to distill them down to a few words to help keep me on track. What a great idea to choose three words to focus on for the year. I wish you great success with the three, and am especially interested to read about your explorations with DNA. I have been amazed at how much my understanding of who I am and how I connect to others has shifted because of what I learned from DNA testing.


    • M. Dawn (@ancestorscall), thank you for the well wishes and the encouraging words you left for me here today! I marvel at the DNA connections you’ve made worldwide and the knowledge you have about this process. I look forward to learning all that I can so that I can make more family connections this year too! Again, THANK YOU!


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