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Like many people, I have made New Years resolutions in the past and not succeeded in keeping them. Andrew Martin wrote an excellent article a few days ago that suggests something I think I will find much more achievable. My Top 5 Genealogy ‘to-dos’ for 2013 suggests choosing five areas of family tree research where you hope to make progress in 2013. Here is my list:

1. Break down my Beckwith brick wall.

I already started to make progress on this at the weekend. My Great Great Grandfather, Fred Beckwith, never seemed to exist before he married in 1882 and has remained a brick wall from day one of me starting my research. The address he gave when he married was a derelict building in the 1881 census and there are no Fred Beckwith’s born in the areas and dates he quotes as his places of birth in other documents. I think I have found him in Rivenhall, Essex and hope to soon confirm my suspicions.

2. Scan more family correspondence

I have inherited a couple of briefcases of late nineteenth and early twentieth century family photographs and correspondence. I started to scan them a couple of years ago, but never finished. They could hold useful information that could help with my research, so I’d like to get them scanned up.

3. Write up what I have discovered about my Quack Doctor

I was always led to believe that I was a descendant of Richard Brinsley Sheridan when in fact I am descended from a Quack Doctor called Richard Sheridan Wardley. From what I’ve found so far I get the impression he wasn’t a very nice or honest man. One minute he’s a dry goods salesman and then all of a sudden a practicing doctor! Luckily he left a colourful trail for me to follow in local newspapers, The Lancet and even Punch magazine as well as the usual sources. I was telling my Grandmother all about my discoveries a few weeks ago and she said “I hope you are writing all this down.” I have a pile of notes and copies of articles, but that’s all. Time to get organised and write it all down properly.

4. Keep a diary

I’ve made this resolution many times, but I think I was too ambitious! So many times over the last year I wish I had made a note of when something happened and regretted not doing so. I’m not going to write a lot. Just a few lines every night. If I keep it on my bedside instead of my desk I should be more successful.

5. Do some more India research

I visit the British Library every other month for board meetings and always get there long before the meeting starts. I would have plenty of time to do some of my own research, but nearly always forget to bring my family history notes with me! I always have my phone or iPad with me though, so I have added my notes to Evernote to ensure I always have them handy.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2013!

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