The Organized Genealogist

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How to organize your genealogy research efforts

How to organize your genealogy research efforts

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  • 1. The Organized Genealogist Dick Eastman December 7, 2014
  • 2. These slides are available at: http://www.eogn.com/handouts/organized
  • 3. When I told my family the topic of today’s talk…
  • 4. When I told my family the topic of today’s talk…
  • 5. When I told my family the topic of today’s talk…
  • 6. When I told my family the topic of today’s talk…
  • 7. So I went to my office and…
  • 8. I looked in my bookcases
  • 9. Introduction • Everything that I will offer today is something that I use daily.
  • 10. 1 2 3 4 Creating Lists Planning a Research Trip Making Constant Backups Digitizing Documents & Pictures
  • 11. Today’s Goal • If you go home and use one or two of today’s ideas, I'll be happy
  • 12. 1 Creating Lists RSS Making Constant Backups Digitizing Documents & Pictures
  • 13. Creating Lists • Perhaps the most powerful tool a genealogist can have is a “to-do list” to organize future research tasks • That list can be supplemented by other lists, including: research accomplished, research tasks completed with quick notes of the results, disproven possibilities, and more.
  • 14. Create a To-Do List • First, create a list of information that you need to fill in the blanks. • List in detail the specific pieces of information you are hoping to find. For example: What is the birthday of Aunt Betty? • Then you will write down where you might find that information such as: "Ask my cousin George the birth date of his mother" or "Find aunt Betty's burial location and headstone."
  • 15. Create a ToDo List • Again, record exactly what pieces of information you need to find and where or how you plan to search for it. • An additional benefit when asking a specific questions about an ancestor is that it occasionally brings to mind other facts connected to the event. Be prepare to take down additional information.
  • 16. Creating Lists • Lists can be recorded on paper or with a computer, possibly with some genealogy programs. • Here is a typical To-Do list:
  • 17. Here is a Typical To-Do List
  • 18. Creating Lists • Several genealogy programs will create and maintain simple to-do lists and even research logs. • You can also find dozens of programs that will create lists of all sorts, from to-do lists to grocery lists to future tasks at the office. • Evernote creates excellent lists. • However, my favorite list program is ToDoist.
  • 19. ToDoist
  • 20. ToDoist • ToDoist is FREE for basic uses • ToDoist is available for Windows, Macintosh, Android, Apple iOS (iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch), and from any web browser • It will automatically sync your tasks on all your devices
  • 21. ToDoist • Never lose track of your to-do list: your data is automatically synced to the cloud • Get organized by using due dates, recurring dates, sub-tasks, task priorities, sub-projects and colored projects • Manage your tasks even while being offline • Plan your days ahead with visual scheduling • Get instant notifications for updates and new comments
  • 22. ToDoist • Integrate with Dropbox and Google Drive for adding documents to your tasks • Preview media links and file attachments through inline thumbnails and file icons • See images, watch videos and play audio directly within the app • Add tasks from any app by sharing with the Todoist app
  • 23. ToDoist PREMIUM account ($29 per year) you get all of the above, plus: •Set up and receive push notifications, email or SMS reminders based on your physical location or the time and date •Get even more organized using task notes, colored labels, and powerful filters •Add files, sound recordings and photos to your tasks •Add tasks by email and access tasks on your calendar •And much more
  • 24. ToDoist
  • 25. ToDoist • However, ToDoist is but one example of several excellent list building programs. You need to read and experiment with several until you find the one that meets your needs. • Lists keep you organized!
  • 26. 1 2 Creating Lists Planning a Research Trip Making Constant Backups Digitizing Documents & Pictures
  • 27. Plan Ahead • When visiting a repository, plan ahead, use online tools (such as a library catalog and visitor information) to prepare, and call to verify hours, what you can bring in, etc. This gives you more research time.
  • 28. Take a To-Do List! Enter the library with a list of things to check. This is especially helpful if the library's catalog is available on line. Prepare your list in advance of your visit. Remain focused! Be organized from the start—using a research log to keep track of your to-do list for each family line and place you're searching really helps. Evernote is a great tool for this if your genealogy program doesn't have a built-in research log.
  • 29. Keep Track of ALL Results, Both Positive and Negative! Keep track of negative search results, too (i.e., you didn't find the record you were looking for) so you don't repeat the same search. Track your online searches of growing databases, so you can go back to look for new results.
  • 30. 1 2 3 Creating Lists Planning a Research Trip Making Constant Backups Digitizing Documents & Pictures
  • 31. Your Data Original Offsite Back up Local Back up
  • 32. The original data is kept on your hard drive, which will fail someday. For convenience, always keep a backup copy on a hard drive, CD, DVD, jump drive, or whatever works for you. In case of a local disaster (fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, etc.) always keep a copy somewhere else. Original Offsite Back up Your Data Local Back up
  • 33. How Often Should You Back Up? • CONSTANTLY! • There are many software products that will make nearly constant backups for you. – Time Machine (Macintosh) - free – Karen’s Replicator (Windows) - free – Mozy (Windows & Macintosh) – free to $4.95/month – Backblaze (Windows & Macintosh) - $4.95/month
  • 34. 1 2 3 4 Creating Lists Planning a Research Trip Making Constant Backups Digitizing Documents & Pictures
  • 35. Make Digital Copies • 1. To improve the originals • 2. To share with others • 3. For preservation • 4. To reduce storage space requirements
  • 36. Scanning Pictures is Self-explanatory • To improve the original photos (faded, scratched, damaged, etc.) • To share with others • For preservation
  • 37. But How About Documents? Genealogy Books? Magazines? • I am now in the process of scanning all of my papers, books, magazines and… • I am destroying most of the originals!
  • 38. But How About Documents? Books? Magazines? I don't want to count how many books I have purchased over the years, but I am sure it must be several hundred volumes. I don't want to even think about the bottom-line price. I only have space in my four bookcases to store a tiny fraction of them; the rest are stored in boxes in the basement. Out-of-sight books are books that I rarely use. "Out of sight, out of mind." I probably wasted my money by purchasing all those books as I rarely use most of them.
  • 39. I Have Another Issue With Storage Space In my retirement years, I plan to move to smaller living quarters. This brings up a challenging word: DOWNSIZING
  • 40. I Have Another Issue With Storage Space A couple of years ago, I made the problem worse by purchasing a new home:
  • 41. I Have Another Issue With Storage Space
  • 42. I Have Another Issue With Storage Space
  • 43. I Have Another Issue With Storage Space
  • 44. My Solution: • Digitize Everything – And make plenty of backups!
  • 45. My Solution:
  • 46. My Solution:
  • 47. My Solution: • I use four different scanners, depending upon the item to be scanned
  • 48. Flip-Pal
  • 49. MagicWand
  • 50. A desktop flatbed scanner
  • 51. A desktop sheetfed scanner
  • 52. Being organized reduces frustrations!
  • 53. 1 2 3 4 Creating Lists Planning a Research Trip Making Constant Backups Digitizing Documents & Pictures
  • 54. Have a Great (and Organized) Day! http://www.eogn.com
  • 55. www.eogn.com
  • 56. These slides are available at: http://www.eogn.com/handouts/organized