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!

My 3 Words for 2013

I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions a long time ago! But I was inspired lately by one of my favorite business bloggers, Chris Brogan the CEO and President of Human Business Works and 250+ of his blog readers, to choose three words that would help focus my goals and efforts in any endeavors I have for this year. So my three words with regards to my genealogy in 2013 are:

First – as in “Every Day is Someone’s First Day.” This statement and concept comes from a wonderful blog post Chris wrote on December 12, 2011 when he asked business leaders how were they introducing themselves to new visitors to their blogs and websites. He wanted them to think about how they told their “stories” and were these stories being told in such a way first time visitors felt invited, welcomed, and comfortable to browse and learn at their own pace. In short, “When people feel brought into the fold, they want to stick around.” You know, he is absolutely right! When I think about distant cousins who may discover this blog, or another genealogy hobbyist who may surf in looking for news and information to use with their research, I want them all to stick around and connect with me here! So how do I plan to introduce “First” experiences at Claiming Kin? I launched a “New Here?” page and updated my “About” page on this blog to not only tell my story, but to welcome everyone and direct them to popular posts and topics that may interest them. To keep “first” experiences going strong throughout this year, I will blog more about my genealogy process and share the “stories” behind those processes often via the social networks I use.

Proof – is a fundamental concept in genealogy! As a genealogy hobbyist, I feel compelled to not just be familiar with the five elements of The Genealogical Proof Standard, but really know them and apply them more consistently in my own research. Why is this so important to me? Well, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do just about anything. And regardless to whether I am a hobbyist or a professional in this field, I want my research to be correct. I want other genealogy hobbyists who follow this blog to see research that’s done right. But more importantly, I want the family history that I leave behind for future generations to be factual and true, and the best way to accomplish that is by applying the Genealogical Proof Standards at all times.

Publish – as in writing and self-publishing a couple of new books this year! Internet technology has definitely leveled the playing field with regards to book publishing. Writers today have a variety of software and online resources available to them to publish, distribute, and market books to readers. I remember telling my mom during my young adult years, that I wanted to be a published writer. And though I’m one of the authors of “Invent the Future — READ! Texas Reading Club Manual” that was published statewide in 2000, I think it’s time that I publish a couple of books of my own. One book will be dedicated to my family, and the other will be an ebook for genealogy hobbyists, like me, to enjoy!

Have you set some genealogy goals for yourself this year? Yes?! No?!
Maybe you also feel inspired to choose *three* words that would help focus your goals and efforts with your family research this year. If you are, what three words would you choose? Share those words with me if you like!