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My passion is genealogy and family history. I host a podcast about Australian family history, Genies Down Under. In my day job, I work as a lecturer and a researcher in higher education, teaching pre-service teachers.

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Friday, 6 January 2012

New year and new goals for family history

Well, now that the new year is well and truly upon us, I think it's high time I put my family history goals "out there" on this blog - especially as I hope it will be a way for me to remind myself later in the year what I plan to achieve for 2012.

Back in 1990, when I started my family history research, I started with the goal of writing a book about my family's history. I now realise, 22 years later, that this goal was not all that achievable. Where does the family's history start? Where does it end? Which family should I include? How would I present it? What type of book? Who would want to read it? Too many unanswerable questions foiled the achievement of my original 1990 goal.

Instead, I now make slightly more achievable goals for myself. Achieving these goals is also more satisfying since it can often produce an item that I can share with others - such as a diary, a calendar, a picture book, a blog, a website or a story. The themes of my goals for 2012 are twofold:
  1. place-based research; and
  2. filling in the context gaps.

This year I am planning a few family history visits (details in later blog postings) to places in Australia and overseas, so I hope to not only do some more place-based research but I also hope that some of these visits will fill in part of the context that my collection of names, dates and placenames is currently missing. To be honest, the stories that link the names, dates and placenames together hold more thrills for me than just collecting facts and figures. It's the colour of my ancestors' lives, the dark and the light hues, that really hold fascination for me. Whether they lived on this or that side of the law, what they did at work and at play, why they did what they did ... these are the stories that I long for. I think they're also more interesting to share than just a list of names and dates.

On my recent Genies Down Under podcast episode (Episode 4: Planning stuff for genies), I made the commitment to get some answers to a few questions and to create some booklets about the KINGSBURY branch of my family.

In 2012, I want to make some headway in finding out possible answers to these questions:
  • Why did part of our Kingsbury family move from Dorset in England to Holywell in Wales in the 1860s?
  • What were the conditions in Holywell, Wales when the Kingsburys were working and living there in the 1860s-1890s?
  • What places can I visit in Wales and England if I have the chance to visit?
As well as looking for answers to these questions, I also plan to write two 10-20 page booklets about two of my KINSBURY ancestors:
  1. James Walter KINGBSURY, my great-grandfather; and
  2. Sarah (aka Sally) KINGSBURY, James' youngest sister.

Sarah KINGBSURY (1881-1967)

James Walter KINGSBURY (1867-1945)

My idea is to write these two books and publish them on Lulu.com so that I can give them for Christmas gifts to family members in 2012. From my experience of using Lulu, they are quick, reasonable in cost and excellent in quality.


Well, there we go. These are some of my goals about one part of my family history research for 2012. Now, I'm off to start achieving them ...

What are your research goals for 2012? Do you have any tips for how to achieve them?


  1. Looking forward to reading about how you manage to fill in the gaps this year. My goals this year are all organisational.

  2. All the best with your goals too, Sharon. I think organisational goals are super because they enable us to get on with all the other exciting research:)