My Half-Yearly Report 2021


It’s that time of year again folks! I normally use my birthday as a useful reminder that we are half way through the year and it’s time for my half-yearly report!

I love the idea of setting myself genealogy goals, it helps me to maintain some kind of focus and helps me too prioritise what I am currently working on. 

Back at the end of 2020 I set myself my goals for 2021, so let me take a look back to see if I have stayed on course, or whether I have become side tracked by bright shiny genealogy objects!

Of course Covid has once again severely impacted what I have been able to achieve and I am sure that it has affected you all in many different ways. It’s something that I can’t change or alter, so dwelling on something that I can’t influence has no value at all. For that reason, all my genealogy road trips have been put on hold yet again, but there is nothing I can do about that. Hopefully a return to ‘normal’ is just around the corner and we can start to make plans for venturing overseas again.

My two main focuses of attention for 2021 have been my ‘Dear Paul’ column that I write for Family Tree Magazine and maintaining my own blog. It’s been over a year since I took up the reins of the ‘Dear Paul’ column and I am still absolutely loving every single moment. It has been the most enjoyable part of my family history journey. The stories and the tales behind them, has grown and grown and I really love all the behind the scenes investigations that are needed to put the column together. It’s piecing together all these different stories, into one finished article, that I enjoy the most. I can safely say that it was a job made for me! I hope that you have all enjoyed the column this year and of course if you see something unusual, record breaking or just plain funny, then don’t hesitate to drop me an email to:

You never know, you might just feature in the next edition!


I have also continued with my blog, but have probably posted less overall posts, but my goal was to aim for more quality over quantity and hopefully I have achieved that, but I will let you be the judge of that!!

Another goal this year was to try and encourage some collaborative work with others and thanks to my article about the Old Palace School Bombing appearing in Family Tree Magazine, a brand new project has evolved. I have decided to make it a long term aim, to try to trace the descendants of all the 34 firefighters who lost their lives at this incident and thanks to some wonderful volunteers, I am pleased to say that this project is well on the way. You can read about the Old Palace School Bombing in my blog below. If you are interested in volunteering for the project then of course, I would love to hear from you.

Old Palace School Bombing Part 2

The next item on my list, after my DNA breakthrough last year, was to try and crack another 20 year old brick wall, but if I am being totally honest, I just haven’t had time to even look at that yet, but there are still another six months of the year left for me to achieve this.

Podcasts were on my list for 2021 and I have become more and more involved with podcasts this year, both listening and participating, having actually taken part and been interviewed in two more podcasts. My play list has also grown and I listen to a different podcast every day now. My current playlist can be found here;

Podcast Playlist

So I’m going to put this down as a success!

My DNA progress has been literally zero, not by choice, but just because of time constraints and having to concentrate on other more important things. There are sadly not enough hours in the day that will allow me to achieve all my goals, but I am not going to beat myself up about it. DNA will just have to take a back seat for now.

At the beginning of the year I gave a large proportion of my older blogs a bit of a facelift, I thought it was going to take longer, but I completed this task and I am happy to put a tick against this one!

I always try to join two new family history societies each year and true to my word, I re-joined the Essex Society for Family History, my old “home” County and I also joined my new “home” County Society of Cheshire. Although I have no ancestral connections to Cheshire, they are a really active Society, with lots going on and hopefully I can contribute in some way. I am really looking forward to getting back to normal meetings again, once Covid restrictions have been lifted.

Another project that has fallen away completely is my photo project. No excuses apart from time constraints, but I have really lost my way with this. It was something that I was really motivated to do at the start, but have really lost the momentum, almost to the point of doing anything other than this! Again, I am not going to beat myself up about this, with a project like this, you need to be in the right frame of mind to tackle it and it takes a big commitment and effort to keep it going. With other things taking a priority, this will once again be put to one side and maybe even put off until I retire!

I also had on my list to give Pinterest another go, which I have done, I am still unsure of its value to me as a genealogist or blogger, but I now have over 100 followers and everyone one of my blogs is now listed on Pinterest as well. Time will tell how successful this will be.

In amongst my many different ‘Genealogy Hats’ are two more roles that I immensely proud of and feel extremely passionate about. I am still one of the moderator’s on Twitter’s Tuesday night ‘Genealogy Fest’, known as #AncestryHour. This fast paced chat is something that I dearly love and I have met so many new genealogy friends from being involved with this wonderful online community. This will continue to be a vital part of my genealogy commitment. I also am a moderator on a friendly genealogy forum called Family Tree Forum. Having been a member for longer than I can remember, I also love being involved with this online genealogy community and both these roles are something I absolutely enjoy and will continue to be involved with.



The last goal has once again been put on hold because of Covid! I am sorely missing getting together with “you lot” and I am really missing going to all the genealogy shows. One of the best parts of Family History for me, is attending the various shows that we have and meeting up with fellow genealogy friends, I really do miss that! I know we have managed to keep things ticking along with various online zoom meetings, which have been brilliant and fun to do, but you just can’t beat that human part of meeting people and the connection that brings. Many of us have missed our families and loved ones because of the restrictions and it has been a tough year for everyone and the sooner we can all get back to normal the better………………..I really miss you guys!

All My Blogs For Family Tree Magazine in one handy place

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4 thoughts on “My Half-Yearly Report 2021

  1. I am finding that DNA genealogy research takes just as much time or more than traditional when using it to chip away a brick wall. I have two that are just as stubborn in the DNA realm. But I chalk that up to a steep learning curve. Good luck on the second half of the year!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy birthday and you have accomplished quite a lot of the items on your list! Not everything can be top priority, so some things have to wait while you work on higher priorities. Like “Dear Paul” which I always enjoy and of course AncestryHour!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Marian your words are always appreciated. A few years ago I might have stressed a little over incomplete projects, but not anymore. Some things I can’t influence and therefore to worry about the things you can’t control is pointless and wasted energy. I try to focus on the things that I can influence, enjoyment of course is key to this!


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