Happy New Year! 2017 Review & 2018 Goals

Eleanor Brownn Quote

Happy New Year!


2017 was packed with amazing genealogy experiences, milestones of both the personal and genealogical kind, the sorrow of loss, and the joys of life.  When I reflect back over the year, these are some of the biggest moments:


Digging into the story of Rosey, my 2nd great-grandaunt, has been a fascinating adventure.  I’m still finding tidbits scattered across the world.  Just last week I found a big one I wasn’t expecting.  The story that is unfolding is so enthralling that I think it is worthy of its own book.  Here are the 2017 posts about Rosey:


John Costello continues to elude me.  He is my great-grandfather and my most challenging brick wall.  Despite his continued brick wall status, I have had some major breakthroughs this year.  I discovered seven seconds of color video of him with my great grandma and my mom as a baby!  I added to my collection of photos of him including the first one of him looking at the camera and smiling!!  I learned that he was ethnically Jewish.  He is still a brick wall, but I feel like I am making some meaningful progress for my own sense of connection to him, and preserving details for future generations to know something about him.


I finished organizing and filing all of the letters my grandparents wrote to each other during WWII and their LDS missions.  TEN Hollinger boxes worth.  I have also begun the process of digitizing and transcribing those precious letters.


I made enough progress in my Young surname study of Renfrew, Renfrew, Scotland to untangle my 5th great-grandparents James Young and Janet Robertson in the Family Tree on FamilySearch.


In my DNA efforts to learn about John Costello, I discovered a first cousin who was adopted at birth.  Together we went on an amazing journey to identify his father and mother.  I still can’t get over what a cool experience that was!  You can read about that journey here:


Still on a DNA high, I watched a Legacy Family Tree webinar on DNA and heard a tip from Diahan Southard that led me to solve my Priority 2 brick wall!!!


In September, I rushed to the bedside of my grandmother to be with her in her final days.  She was diagnosed with leukemia on a Thursday and passed away on Sunday.  I deeply miss her and the genealogy experiences we shared.  But I am so grateful that I started my genealogy adventures in my very early twenties.  That meant I got 20 precious years of asking her questions.


In October I finally held in my hands a long sought after, precious, and very rare book because of a cousin connection I made on  It confirmed my previous research efforts and added a richness of story to a family line that had been lost to time and young deaths.


I ended the year with a bang! when I helped my friend end her 50 year-long search for her paternal grandparents using her DNA results.  What a joyful experience!


As I consider 2018, I am struggling to put my finger on my top three goals.  I know that I want to continue to learn, research, digitize, archive, solve, teach, share, help, write, and answer questions I have.  But those are the things I do all of the time.  The one thing that often eludes me is a very important word – FINISH.

So I am pondering on what three things I want to FINISH this year.

The list of projects I am considering is long enough for a lifetime of effort.  I’m never short on projects.  But which three are the most important, the most pressing, the most meaningful?

I’m still pondering that and will be for a bit.

For now, I am grateful for the progress and experiences of 2017.  I hope 2018 will be just as richly rewarding.


How about you?  What do you hope to accomplish in 2018?



ps – The moment I am looking forward to the most in 2018 is standing in the baggage claim area of the Salt Lake Airport in August and wrapping my arms around my precious first-born, missionary son for the first time in two years and 5 days.  That will be a big milestone moment right there!  ❤️



18 thoughts on “Happy New Year! 2017 Review & 2018 Goals”

  1. Great summary, Amberly, and it’s been a pleasure riding along with your journey. I look forward to seeing where you go in 2018. Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you, Amy! You are so kind. I’m looking forward to some great things this year but I’m also trying to soak it all in. My youngest is in Kindergarten so I know that I am ending an era – my favorite one too. First grade is always a rough transition for me.

      1. Your favorite era or your favorite child? 😉

        It’s amazing how our years with our children fly by. Mine have now lived more of their lives away from our home than with us—it’s almost hard to remember what it was like having them both living at home.

        1. Haha! Probably both. 😉 Don’t tell my other kids. Who am I kidding, they know he’s the favorite. But they also know it’s because we all wanted him so badly. All four of us dote on him.

          It’s hard to imagine a time when I won’t remember what it was like having my kids at home. But I’m sure it will happen. 🙂

          1. Oh, I have memories, but they are just not as present as you’d think. It’s like a different lifetime. I look at photos of them as children and remember those children, but they are such different people now in so many ways. I love them as much if not more, but they are no longer there every day to feed, care for, and love in the same way.

  2. What a great list of accomplishments in 2017. I have the letters my grandparents wrote back and forth before and during WWI and need to get those transcribed – scanning them is way too overwhelming for me to even think about. And then I need to tackle the boxes of letters to/from my Mom and Dad during WWII. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you, Debi! There really are not enough hours are there? We genealogists need more than the average humans because our list constantly multiplies – you find a new ancestor and then you instantly have two more to find – their parents, plus siblings, etc. We will NEVER finish our lists. Haha! I wish you good luck, good health, and the energy to tackle your project. 🙂

  3. I have so enjoyed following along as you’ve researched and shared your family’s history. Whatever your final goals are for the year, I know you’ll tackle them with professionalism and skill and creativity, and humour. Happy New Year.

  4. I love the way you went through your year 2017 with all the highlights. I’ve put off mentioning any goal for 2018 until my Blogiversary. Like you I have projects which need to be done that would also last me a lifetime. Happy New Year, Amberly.

    1. Thank you, Cathy. It was nice to go through and look at some favorite genealogy moments in the year. It helped me feel better about the unfinished projects. 😉 Next year my youngest will be in school all day so I will have a little bit more time. I know I will make good use of the time, but I will miss all of the time we have together now. So I’m trying to soak it all in while I can. Checking more things off the list next year will definitely be bittersweet. Happy New Year! 🙂

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