What are your Genealogy Goals for 2020?

Yes it’s that time of year again already! I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown by, but I guess that’s a sign of getting old!

So the first thing we should do, before setting any new Genealogy goals, is to see how we did on last year’s goals and targets. So let’s see who’s on “The Naughty Step” and who’s “Top of the Class”.


So this is my list from last year, let’s see how I faired;

Re-organizing my Family Tree filing system, well I partially did that, I certainly radicalised and re-structured each family file, to mirror each other, so I will take that as a win, although I never accomplished everything that I wanted to achieve, so it’s a partial success, but this will make the list again for 2020.


Joining two Family History Societies, that’s a definite win. I joined the Gloucestershire Family History Society  and The Irish Genealogical Research Society  and I would encourage and urge everyone to make it a goal, to join a local Family History Society and make use of their wonderful resources and make use of the amazing help, that these local Family History Societies provide.

Maximising my DNA; I have definitely made a lot of progress this year, especially after attending RootsTechLondon. I have also made reasonable progress with my DNA Painting using the wonderful website DNA Painter . This has enabled me to re-visit and chase up my earlier DNA matches and has compltetly re-invigorated my approach to my DNA results. So much so, that I have taken an additional Y-DNA test with Family Tree DNA and I an eagerly awaiting these results.


The next two goals involved trips away, to a Military Cemetery of one of my Ancestor’s overseas and a visit to Dublin, to meet my extended Family. Sadly my own personal circumstances changed quite dramatically at the back end of 2019, which prevented both of these trips happening. Rest assured these will be back on the list for 2020.

One goal that I would like to see on everyone’s list is make a conscious effort to get to more record offices or archive offices, before it’s too late! So this is definitely on my list. How to make the best use of our archives and record offices before it’s too late!

My Goal of Blog writing, both for Family Tree Magazine and my own blog has been fully met. I completed the large job of writing biographies of my 8 Great-Grandparents and have since started writing the biographies of my 16 Great-Great Grandparents, interspersed with numerous other blogs throughout the year, something that I really enjoy doing.

I also managed to watch a few webinars this year and listen to a number of podcasts, which is a vast improvement on previous years, so I will take that as another “tick”, task achieved, but maybe could still do a little better. If you haven’t listened to the wonderful podcasts of The Airing Cupboard, then I would urge you to do so, “it’s where the extraordinary stories of ordinary people get an airing” The Airing Cupboard

My last goal of attending Family Tree Live and RootsTechLondon was also a one hundred percent success!



I am actually quite surprised, having reviewed my goals from last year, I achieved a lot more than I actualy thought I had! So I award myself a “B”, but still a long way off an “A*”!

So have you set yourself targets or goals for your family history research for 2020?

If not, now is the ideal time to review your work, review what you have already achieved and set yourself some new targets and goals for the next twelve months.


I always like the idea of goals or targets, it keeps you focused and gives you something to aim for. Having said that, there is nothing I like better than deviating off on a new venture, so although it’s good to set goals, don’t be too rigid with what you set out to achieve, allow some “wriggle room” for something that grabs your attention.

The key thing to remember is don’t over commit yourself, there is also a life outside of family history, well I assume there is?? So don’t set yourself unrealistic targets and likewise don’t beat yourself up too much, if you don’t achieve everything on your list.

So my list for 2020 looks something like this;

Absolute Number 1 priority, is to totally overhaul my blog site. It’s not my strongest skill set, computer work, but I must get to grips with it. I love writing and researching, but have realised that this site looks awful, poorly presented and designed and needs a total new look and overhaul, so watch this space for changes! The content I’m happy with, it’s just the overall layout and presentation that looks poor.

Finish the job that I started last year and complete the re-organization of my Family History Filing system, it’s almost exactly how I would ideally like it, I just need to finish the job!

Inspired by the wonderful talk at HASHTAG RootsTechLondon by the amazing Amberly Beck on how to organize your Family History Photographs, I need to really improve the structure that I have already in place and utilize some of the great suggestions that Amberly makes in her presentation.

Something else that I need to improve on, (more than anything else), is a better strategy for the large subscription sites and the packages that they offer. I am guilty of taking out too many subscriptions at the same time and not having the time to properly utilize the websites. Example being I currently have Ancestry, FMP, British Newspaper Archive, Essex Record Office and WordPress. You can clearly see where some of these overlap and I need better focus in this area, rather than adopt a “scatter gun” approach.


Although I put blog writing down as a success in 2019, I will add it again for 2020, as I want to really continue with my blog writing and improve the presentation of both my website itself and the quality of the work that I produce. I think I can see a steady improvement, year on year, but I need to keep this as a goal, to remain focused on this.

Talking of focus, I clearly never periodically reviewed 2019 goals throughout the year, in fact I only looked at it in December! So I am setting myself a “Birthday Target”, as my Birthday falls in June, of reviewing where I am up to.

Again it was a positive from last year, but I want to maintain focus on making use of webinars and podcasts as they really are a great resource for Family Historians and they are normally free!

Another goal that I have previously started and failed to finish, is the wonderful Amy Johnson Crows  #52Ancestors in 52 weeks, I am determined this year to make a much better effort at doing this.

Another one left over from last year, is to make the trip to Dublin to meet my extended Family again and also to try and get to Gallipoli to see the Memorial at Helles of my Great-Grandfather, John Edwin Barnes.

I will add another couple of goals, similar to last year, but the idea is to maintain the focus on what I want to really achieve in 2020, so attending Family Tree Live in April 2020 is a must.

The final goal is to push a bit harder with my DNA work and improve my DNA knowledge that little bit more, I’m getting there, but I need to kick on in 2020, so will add this here with the expectation I will have more to devote to this, once I rationalize my Subscriptions!


The final final goal on my list is to knock a couple of brick walls down, which is the ambition of all budding genealogists!


So what is on your “to do” list for 2020?

Let me know………………..

All My Blogs For Family Tree Magazine in one Handy Place

21 thoughts on “What are your Genealogy Goals for 2020?

  1. Paul, this is a wonderful overview of 2019 and 2020…and I share some of the same goals as you for this new year. I have to figure out which of the major subscriptions I want to save for the long term and which I’ll harvest from and drop when my subscription ends. Happy new year and best of luck with all your plans!


  2. I like your new-look website, Paul, and have noticed that you now have your own url!

    A while ago you gave me some help with my new blog. I still haven’t made it public again, mainly lack of time and “too much to do” getting in the way. Give me a few more weeks.

    I did know about Amy Johnson Crow and have read some of her articles, but didn’t know about her #52 Ancestors in 52 weeks. Wow! That will keep me on my toes. Thank you for pointing that out.


  3. Many goals, many achievements and your website is looking very smart. I have you on my WordPress reader so i dont miss a post.

    Happy 2020 and may you have many successes and goals achieved.
    Gill @book_magpie on Twitter


  4. I am still working on my goals for the new year. I have a list started that’s for sure. I am wanting to continue to research certain family members with the purpose of writing their story for my blog. I’m currently working on my 2nd Great Grandma, Pauline Ilg’s story. I am breaking it up into separate blog posts, like chapters so it’s not just one long story. Writing more for my blog is also one of my goals. I actually finished the 52 ancestors challenge (practically dragged myself across the goal line lol), so I’m not going to do that this year. I’ve got some other things I’m going to write about. I also plan on working on my research skills and report writing. These are mini goals with the bigger goal of one day doing all this as a career. I will also be attending webinars and listening to podcasts to help with this goal. With all this, I still plan on developing my YouTube Channel. Each month I am setting certain milestones to hit so I can hopefully stay on top of everything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like you have a busy year ahead Jen and some great goals on your list. Breaking tasks into smaller bite size pieces definitely makes sense. That way you feel like you are completing something even it’s only a part of a story. I might consider monthly mini targets as well to make sure keep on track

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your organizational system. I think that’s one of the hardest decisions to make when researching your ancestry. My genealogy goal this year is to fill in some holes to see if I can find a few more countries of origin for distant grandparents, and I want to find out more about my great great grandfather who was a policeman killed on duty and the circumstances surrounding it. Thanks for the motivation!


  6. QUOTE “Another goal that I have previously started and failed to finish, is the wonderful Amy Johnson Crows #52Ancestors in 52 weeks, I am determined this year to make a much better effort at doing this.”
    Well I knew there was no hope in hell of my achieving 52, so I settled for 1 each month. I did manage 3, but ended as a hopeless E- for 2019! Must do better in 2020.


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