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Genealogy Goals: 2022 Edition | Our Prairie Nest

It’s that time of year when I back up all my files and determine what genealogy questions I’ll focus on over the next year.

First, let’s take care of backing up those files… Ah, yes, it feels good to get that out of the way. I’m a little late with both the backup process and this post, but here we go!

I had to really sit and think about what I intend to accomplish in 2022 and it’s kind of nebulous. Maybe because I spent my back to back 4-day holiday weekends wrapping up 2021 tasks, relaxing in front of the fire with copious amounts of tea, and playing a lot of Minecraft. A lot of it, because a friend set up a Cave Factory server and… well, you know how that goes.

So here are my genealogy goals for 2022:

Research Papers

Let’s start with my non-SMART Goals. I’m working on a couple of research papers and not sure if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew or what. They are taking me back to the 1500s and, um, that’s quite an undertaking. These aren’t necessarily for publication, though I have already formatted them in such a way that they have that potential if I ever reach my objective. I don’t believe these two goals are reachable within the year, but smaller aspects of them are more than doable.

One paper is on my distant paternal ancestor, Anthony Wood. Who was he? Where did he come from before emigrating to Essex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony? Is this even a question I can answer? I don’t know, but I’d like to try. Unfortunately, while my father graciously consented to an Ancestry DNA test, he would not provide me with a Family Tree DNA test to work with when I asked, so I have to rely on observing others’ Y-DNA from afar, while working on digging up documentary evidence. I hope that maybe one of my male Wood cousins will test their Y-DNA, but this remains a long shot as one of them just tested at Ancestry and uncovered an NPE that I’ve been aware of for the past 2 or 3 years, and have had to keep to myself. Well, cat’s out of the bag now and I really hope he is able to approach it in a positive way! But that’s neither here nor there.

The other paper is one I want to keep close to my vest. It’s on a Mayflower-adjacent family, the immigrant ancestor of which has hotly-disputed origins. I’m sure others are working on figuring out his origins, and I just happen to be looking at what I think is an unexplored theory. On to the specific goals!

Family History

I would really like to write up at least enough of a family history for my children to understand my life, and the lives of their grandparents, and great-grandparents. Last year, I started a file and gave my little book a name. It has a bunch of disjointed information laid out in it and needs to be added to, polished, and edited. It would be nice to have something in case the kids ask questions or, imagine this, grandchildren come along.

My son turned 19 in December 2021 and my daughter turned 9 after New Year’s. As I joked with my husband, grandchildren are the next inevitable phase. But I don’t want future generations to have to ask the same questions I did to learn about my family. Instead, I want to give them a narrative overview of the lives of the people I’ve known in our families, and open up other avenues of exploration for them. My children will inherit my work someday. I want to pass down more than names, places, and dates to them. Goodness knows I wish I could still ask all my grandparents and great-grandparents questions, so I’d like to give future generations of my family at least some of those answers.

Brick Walls & Research Questions

Oh gosh, who is waiting for me to find them out there? Which questions remain unresolved? Anything I mentioned on my blog last year, for sure. I didn’t make as many discoveries in 2020 or 2021, however I feel like I was better at finding information and getting it out there. While I didn’t blog as much, I stepped up the attention I pay to WikiTree because the collaborative nature of the site may mean someone will come across one of my brick walls or questions and have the answer I seek. Likewise, maybe I’ve put something out there that will help someone else in their research.

Of the list of questions I currently have, I would like to focus on the following:

Who was the first husband (known only as Mr. Regan) of my great-great grandmother, Emma Anna Wallace/Murphy (1861 – 1945)? When were they married? How did their marriage end (death or divorce)?

What became of Emma’s mother, Elizabeth Murphy (1838 – aft 1861)?

What was the maiden name of Esther, wife of Edward Curtis (circa 1747 – 1840)? DNA may help resolve this question.

Who was the father of John Goodwin Hawksley (1810 – 1893)? DNA may also answer this question. I have a hypothesis to work with on this one.

Who were the parents of Maria Ursula Taescher (circa 1853 – 1930), born in Switzerland and died in Oregon, United States? I have her father’s name as “John” based on her death certificate, so her father is possibly Johann. But that’s all I have to go on at this time.

Now that I’ve done this, I need to sit down with my list and write out next steps. Wish me luck!

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