from the web... If you're like most genealogists, you keep telling yourself you're going to get organized -- tomorrow, or course. Right after you track down great-grandmother's parents. Good intentions seem to afflict genealogists, who often are almost hopelessly buried in piles of data (electronic and paper) and projects. A few years ago, I decided I had to simplify my genealogy goals in an attempt to complete several projects I had bubbling on the proverbial back burner. I had spread my interests too wide and was like someone on a treadmill -- working like the devil but not going anywhere. I learned the hard way that I cannot do justice to researching dozens of family lines at once. I decided to pick a few lines that I most wanted to work on, compile what I had already done on some, and put the others aside, temporarily, of course. Eventually my pile was whittled down to five families (still too many, but one can only get organized so much). Reflecting back over what I was able to accomplish -- and still work full-time -- I am pleased to report that less can be best. Here are some suggestions that might help you re-focus on your genealogical goals: -- Which ancestor do you most want to find? Put him or her down as No. 1 on your ``MUST FIND'' list. Focus on that individual. -- Which families do you have the most information on? Research (also known as ``the chase'') is the fun part, but there comes a time when we should compile what we have gathered. It will surprise you to discover how much information you actually have. Arrange your data. Go back through the files --you'll probably find some answers that you've overlooked. Spend some time inputting into your genealogy software, or put it into a written form others can understand and build upon should you not be around to see what happens to our computers on January 1, 2000. -- What documentation is needed most? You believe your John is the son of William, but you need more evidence? Focus on what records might exist that could provide this information. Perhaps you need to do some additional search on John's siblings. Focus on finding and studying the records that most likely will answer the questions. -- Which family line do you want to focus on for the rest of his year? Pick one -- only one -- and call it your ``family of the year.'' Splatter the electronic boards and Internet with your interest in this particular family. Let the world know about this family --not just your ancestor, but all his siblings and the in-laws. There's cousins out there; find them. -- Divide your time between research, analyzing and compiling. You might spend the rest of this summer doing research -- in the field, visiting courthouses, libraries and cemeteries or getting acquainted with cousins at family reunions. When autumn and winter with less-than-perfect weather arrive, spend some dedicated time analyzing and compiling your research information. Write reports to yourself. They will reveal the gaping holes, the data inconsistencies and other problems. Then you will be ready to plunge into the research with renewed vigor. Focusing on fewer projects will enable you to accomplish more, perhaps even complete some. The quality of your work will be better also.