My Personal Genealogy Goals for 2018

Most of my genealogy time is spent on client projects, but one of my resolutions for 2018 is to spend some time on personal projects as well. All my projects give me inspiration for blog posts, lectures, or articles, so even time spent on personal projects helps my business. I have several personal goals for 2018.

Connecting with cousins

I have lately connected with a half first cousin once removed whom I never knew that I hope to meet later this year. Our families lost touch when my great-grandmother died, before I was born. She lives about an hour away from me. I also reconnected with a second cousin in the US whom I last saw 30 years ago and I hope to get to know her better.

We are also preparing to welcome a new cousin into the family, since my first cousin once removed is pregnant 🙂  Scary to think there will be someone in my family who is two generations younger than me!

Proving fourteen generations of my Eleanor-line

I am writing a series of blog posts about my possible line back to Eleanor of Aquitaine, of which I have published the first two. I plan to research one link per month, so if they all check out I should have proven the first fourteen generations by the end of the year.

Grave of Eleanor of Aquitaine at Fontevrauld Abbey

Make progress identifying unknown fathers in my tree

On my mother’s side of the family, I have five ancestors for whom I don’t know who the father is, or where I have serious doubts about the identity of the father. My mom and I have taken autosomal DNA tests with several different companies, and I hope that this year will bring us some DNA matches that provide evidence for the identities of these fathers. I don’t expect I will be able to definitively prove any of the connections, but I’d be happy with a solid candidate. Christmas sales of DNA kits were through the roof, so those results should come in shortly.

Researching Winterswijk emigrants to Michigan

I will be in Michigan in May for the National Genealogical Society conference, where I will be giving three presentations.  I will arrive a few days early to get over the worst jetlag. That will give me the chance to do some personal research.

I’ve been working on a one-place-study of Winterswijk, my father’s home town, that includes the 6,000+ emigrants from the area in the 1800s, for the past 25 years or so. I am trying to find out what happened to each of them. So far, I’ve identified over 4,000 in US records. A few dozen ended up in Michigan, mostly in Holland, Michigan. I plan to visit research facilities in the area to find out more about them. I may even meet some distant cousins!

Go to Tulip Time

I love seeing how people with Dutch ancestors all over the world celebrate their Dutch heritage. In May, Holland, Michigan will celebrate Tulip Time. It starts the weekend of the NGS conference, so I will be staying a day longer to go there with several genealogy friends.

Visiting family locations

I love visiting the places where my family lived. Almost all my known ancestors since the 1400s lived no more than two hours away from where I live now, so it’s easy for me to go there. On my father’s (Winterswijk) side, most people were named after the farms they lived on, and most of the farms still exist today. One of my other hobbies is photography, so I hope to photograph several of these ancestral farms.

Safely store my family photos

I inherited a collection of family photos that used to belong to my paternal grandparents. I have bought archival quality albums, boxes, and transparant pages, and am working on transferring all the photos from the shoe boxes and plastic containers to these albums. I also intend to scan the most precious photos.

The collection is doubly special to me since I have fond memories of going through them with my grandfather as a teenager, shortly after I’d started doing genealogy. He would tell me the names of the people and the occasion or date if he knew it, and I would write that information on the back with a soft pencil. It’s fun to see my own teenage handwriting when handling the photographs. Having the photos in transparent sleeves allows me to see both sides of the photo.

Military recruits showing name signs

My grandfather (“Henk”) and his company in the military, 1934

Your goals?

What are your genealogy goals for 2018? Please leave a comment!

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for almost 25 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. Sherrie Parr says:

    My daughter and I will be attending the conference too and were very excited to see that you were presenting so many sessions! You’ll see our smiling faces at each one! Safe travels 💕

  2. Cathy Crandall says:

    DNA! I’m a late-comer to doing family history and previous generations of my family fortunately did a lot of work before me. But one tool they did not have was DNA and I plan to work to understand it and get people in my family to test this year!

  3. Hunter Winn says:

    I live in Holland, Michigan. Did you manage to attend any of the Tulip Time events this year? Both my mother and my aunt dance- big thing in the family!

    I think it’s one of the few reminders left in the area of the heritage of many of us. I personally have ancestors from several provinces (Drenthe, Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen, Noord Holland, Zuid Holland, Overijssel, and Zeeland) and it is a reminder of that.

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