Monday, April 25, 2016

Genealogy Do-Over - Do I Finally Have a System?

My paternal grandfather, Howard Matthews.
Always organized.
Do I finally have a research tracking system I can live with? It seems like all this planning and reading has been going on for way too long. But really, only time will tell as I put all these ideas into practice.

As I alluded to in my last post on this subject, staying organized has always been a challenge for me. One thing that helps me keep our living space organized is the mantra that professional organizers use often, "A place for everything and everything in it's place." This is something I need to keep in mind in organizing my genealogy, too. While I want to keep things as simple as possible, my genealogical finds and evidence need to have a place to go or I may just drop them somewhere random, never to be seen again.

This week I looked at where I wanted to keep four things:

  • To do list
  • Search attempts
  • Citations
  • Transcriptions
To Do List
I like keeping each ancestor's research note separate in Evernote, but I only want have one To Do List. I created a new Note in Evernote with a To Do List table and put a link to the Note in my research note template so that I can quickly get to the to do list from each research note.

You may notice that I started the name of this note with a period (.Research To Do List). That will make this note appear at or near the top of the list of notes when searching by name and make it easier to find.

Search Attempts
Search attempts, like the research log, will be kept in each individual note so I added this table to the template. This is a place to track all of the attempts I made to locate a record in a specific database.

Citations & Transcriptions
I really like Thomas MacEntee's idea of starting your evidence analysis in the research log, but unfortunately it isn't very practical in a table format. So what to do? How about using the Evidentia program I bought and paid for back in 2015? What an idea!

But that only deals with where to analyze my evidence, where else should I keep those citations so that they are accessible away from home and saved somewhere in the cloud for backup? I've decided to do two things with my citations and transcriptions. First will be to save a transcription of the document and the citation in Word document along with a digital image of the record and then upload the document to Dropbox. Then I will copy and paste the citation and transcription into the Evernote Note that contains a copy of the digital record.

I hope this post isn't too confusing. I had rewrite it a few times to make sure I was getting my points across. I hope I succeeded.

I'm going to put all of this into practice this week and put together a post to walk us through my process step-by-step. Wish me luck!


Wendy said...

Makes perfect sense to me. Looking forward to reading more.

Michelle Ganus Taggart said...

Looks like a workable plan! I keep tweaking my various logs trying to get just the right balance of information. Will be watching to see what you decide with Evidentia