23 January 2014

S.M.A.R.T.ER in 2014

Has it been two weeks already?

10 Jan 2014 was the first #genchat of 2014, and as the host, I decided to be a little tricky. I threw a surprise up at the very end, with my new #genchat challenge! Each chat on Friday evenings will include a little extra bonus for those that are willing and able to take me up on it. Nothing too serious, all in good fun and with the purpose of continuing the conversation, the thought process, the education after the chat is over.

Besides, every time we do #genchat, at the end of the hour the comments are always, "it's over already? Can't we chat some more?"  This is your chance to chat more.

I cannot very well issue a challenge to all of the participants without being willing to face it myself. The first challenge was to write a S.M.A.R.T. goal that some how related to your genealogy for 2014. I've decided this year to try to balance my research time more evenly between my paternal and maternal lines; I've been quite focused on Oscar for several years. I need to take some time to let all my other ancestors whisper into my soul.

Therefore, my S.M.A.R.T. goal is focused on Eilert Heerten, and his family.

Headstone for Anna and Eilert Heerten.
Personal files of the author.

Eilert traveled to the United States with his brother. My goal is to identify that brother with certainty, and trace his spouse and descendants to determine if there are currently living descendants. The deadline for this research to be conducted is 1 Aug 2014. After utilizing all of the resources that I have reasonable access to, I will complete the process by producing a research report outlining my findings. 

S.M.A.R.T.ER in 2014

I do like a good challenge.

I am happy with my established goal, and I think that I have a good start on establishing a pedigree from Eilert's brother to current day.

During the chat, though, I stated that one of my goals for 2014 is to "grow #genchat." I do want to expand the community, and the reach, of these chats, as I think they have proven to be a valuable resource and genuinely beneficial experience for the participants. I am deeply proud of #genchat, and everything it has become. I would love to just host chat after chat after chat.

Here is my #genchat goal, more defined:

In 2014, my goal is to promote and market the #genchat community so that there are 75-100 people on the chats on a regular basis (regular = at least one chat a month for six months at this participation level). I will accomplish this by reaching out to societies, offering Twitter "lessons," and partnering with organizations in the genealogy community. I will host as many chats as possible from national conference venues and attempt to engage an audience that is not as active on social media. The timeline is as follows: 

  • Host three #genchat's from society meetings (in person or virtually) in the first six months of 2014. 
  • Partner with a national organization by 1 March 2014 to help promote #genchat and increase participation. 
  • Recruit a team of #genchat cheerleaders to assist in carrying the #genchat message into the far corners of the country by 1 Jul 2014. 

#genchat is a very special community to me, and one that I treasure. It is also one of my highest priorities for 2014, both as a genealogist and as a business owner. I am committed to maintaining the chat's high level of quality, while equally committed to keeping the atmosphere fun, non-judgmental and positive. 

If I am able to accomplish these two goals, I will certainly be S.M.A.R.T.ER by the time 2014 is over. I am very much looking forward to the research challenge, as well as working to make #genchat bigger and better in its second year. 

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