- Set up a daily (or at least weekly) backup routine on your computer. You can use backup software to make this easy. I'm currently using Genie Backup Manager and find it very simple to use. It is set to automatically backup each night at a specific time. You can get a portable hard drive or flash drive to put the files on. To be extra safe, have two sets of backup drives and take one with you to work so that it is out of the house as an extra precaution. Make sure you are backing up your genealogy database files, important e-mail, your address book, and your research notes.
- Find a local genealogy society, or one local to an area in which your ancestors lived, and attend a meeting or join the society as a new member. Supporting the local genealogy societies means supporting their projects to preserve and publish genealogical records.
- Make a genealogy to-do list for yourself with all the things you would like to accomplish, all the projects or tasks you have had in mind to do. Then, pick just one thing on that list and get to it. Don't let the entire list overwhelm you and discourage you because you feel so far behind already (we've all been there!). Ignore the other things on the list until later. Just focus on that one item and apply yourself. Ideas for your list: organizing your photos; scanning photos for archiving and preservation; setting up an organized filing system for your research notes; inputting source citations for the various fields in your genealogy database; culling through your research notes and tidying them up.
- Buy a genealogy how-to book or find one at your local library. Whether it is a beginners book for you to review, or a specific genealogy topic you would like to learn, taking the time to educate yourself will help immensely as your research progresses.
- Transcribe a genealogically relevant document or record. Perhaps you have something in your own collection (a diary, a letter, etc.) that you would like to transcribe and share with the world on a web page. Or maybe you would like to join a group of volunteers who are putting records online for all of us to use.
- Attend at least one genealogy class, seminar, or conference. You will learn something new and have a chance to meet fellow genealogists.
- Makes plans for your genealogical research materials to have a home after you are gone. Do you family members know what to do with all your stuff? Do you have plans for a cousin, a society, or a library to inherit your research? Figure it out and then put it in writing.
- Start writing Thank-You notes to people who help you. Whether it was a big deal or a small gesture, a nice message (e-mail or snail mail) of gratitude goes a long way.
- Review your research, especially the stuff you did when you were brand new to all of this. Going back over things you did several months or years ago can often be seen with a fresh set of eyes and possibly give you new ideas for research paths to follow.
I'm sure you can all help me come up with more ideas for new habits in the new year. Now that we're thinking about it, let's get to doing some of them!