2020 Review

It’s New Years Day today so here’s the obligatory review of the year.

My goals for 2020 were:

To complete my post graduate diploma & possibly do my Masters
The good news is that I completed and passed my Diploma, though it was an uphill struggle. Like thousands of other people, the pandemic stopped me in my tracks and I wasn’t able to concentrate on anything much, especially during the crucial months when I was writing up my research project. It was only the fact that I didn’t want to waste my money that I managed to finish it. I decided not to continue on to the Masters, partly because I didn’t think (rightly as it turns out) that I wouldn’t be able to get into any archives and partly because I couldn’t face doing the final year online. I’m happy to study online and very self motivated but I think I need a lot more support to construct an academic research project. Part of my feedback for this year was that I had written a very good history research paper but it wasn’t a good genealogical one! That tells me that I might be on the wrong course and I need to look somewhere else if I want to get my Masters. I might look at doing an MA in Local History at the University of Leicester but that would very much depend on how this pandemic pans out.

To write regular blog posts
‘Started well, flagged in the middle, ended well’ sums up my writing this year. #52 ancestors helped but I couldn’t keep it up. Starting my One Place/Two Street Study has made a big difference towards the end of 2020. I will try to keep it up.

To start a genealogy business
This has been a non-starter. No focus has been the biggest problem. Do I really want to do this? I know I can write but with everything going on, unless I give this 100%, its not going to happen. I’m going to give this up for now.

To write more in general
By the end of my research project, I never wanted to write again. I seem to have gotten over that. As well as this blog, I’ve written 2 client’s reports: a maternal family history & a house history. I was even paid for one of them! I also wrote a blog post for the Railway Work Life & Death Project. My main problem is that I like the challenge of research but I’m not as good at the discipline of writing it up.

What are my plans for 2021?
I need to be a bit more ‘SMART’ with my targets:
1. Write a One Place Study post every Wednesday in time for #OnePlaceWednesday
2. Write a #52ancestors post twice a month
3. Complete the census data entry for Woodlands Place & Turner’s Retreat and analyse the data
4. Complete ‘Finding James’ research & write up before Easter
5. Investigate Leicester’s MA on Local History. Do I really want to do it? I need to do this by May to be able to enrol in September. This will also very much depend on what happens with the virus.

These feel like reasonable targets & by making them ‘public’ I might have the motivation to complete them. The one thing I want to do is to enjoy the process and not make it a chore.

Sweet Brown


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