The Organized Genealogist

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How to organize your genealogy research efforts

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The Organized Genealogist

  1. 1. The Organized Genealogist Dick Eastman October 14, 2016
  2. 2. These slides are available at: http://eogn.com/handouts/organized
  3. 3. When I told my family the topic of today’s talk…
  4. 4. When I told my family the topic of today’s talk…
  5. 5. When I told my family the topic of today’s talk…
  6. 6. When I told my family the topic of today’s talk…
  7. 7. So I went to my office and…
  8. 8. I looked in my bookcases
  9. 9. Introduction • Everything that I will offer today is something that I use daily.
  10. 10. 4 3 2 1 Organizing Paper Record Your Findings Organize Family Photos Create a Genealogy Disaster Plan
  11. 11. Today’s Goal • If you go home and use one or two of today’s ideas, I'll be happy
  12. 12. 1 Organizing Paper RSS Making Constant Backups Digitizing Documents & Pictures
  13. 13. Is This Your “Office?”
  14. 14. Or this?
  15. 15. Or would you prefer this?
  16. 16. Or this?
  17. 17. Or this?
  18. 18. I Have Another Issue With Storage Space In my retirement years, I planned to move to smaller living quarters. This brings up a challenging word: DOWNSIZING
  19. 19. I Have Another Issue With Storage Space A couple of years ago, I made the problem worse by purchasing a new home:
  20. 20. I Have Another Issue With Storage Space
  21. 21. I Have Another Issue With Storage Space
  22. 22. I Have Another Issue With Storage Space
  23. 23. Filing Documents What kind of filing system should you use? I suggest you consider Google’s filing system. Don’t worry about folders and any complex hierarchical filing method! Let your computer do what it does best: search for you!
  24. 24. Filing Documents Create a systematic filing system that is easy to understand and manage. The most common paper systems used are file folders, notebooks and binders, or a combination of all those things. I use “folders” in my computer but others will prefer physical file folders or 3-ring binders Most systems are based on a surname structure, with family records filed together.
  25. 25. Filing Documents
  26. 26. Filing Documents Use long files names that are descriptive Don’t be afraid to go several layers deep in “the tree”
  27. 27. Filing Documents The same method works for paper or electronic documents other than surnames: Census Records Pension applications Extracts from county histories …and much more
  28. 28. Evernote • Evernote is God’s Gift to Genealogists! • I use Evernote to fulfill my pack-rat and archiving needs, both for genealogy and for many other purposes as well.
  29. 29. Evernote • Evernote can store tens of thousands of notes… • Research notes, research logs, documents, timelines, to do lists, checklists, post-it notes, email messages, audio files, pictures, videos, business cards, web pages, PowerPoint presentations, seminar notes, webinar notes, reminder notes, prescriptions, and more. • Even better, Evernote can RETRIEVE any of those notes within seconds when you
  30. 30. Evernote • Why Should a Genealogist Use Evernote? – Notes taken during genealogy presentations – Ideas for suture research – Articles from blogs – Web pages – “to do” lists – User IDs and passwords – Subscription and membership renewal dates – And more…
  31. 31. Evernote • One more thing: Evernote is FREE for most people!
  32. 32. Evernote • One more thing: Evernote is FREE for most people!
  33. 33. Avoid This!
  34. 34. Filing Documents Cite sources as you go. For every piece of research you gather, note the source, where you found it, and the library call number, if applicable. Citing sources is essential to proving your research findings. Source citations can be embedded in the files, if possible, or saved as a separate file. (To be discussed later.)
  35. 35. Filing Documents Digitize as much as possible. Limit paper files to original documents and photographs. For those paper documents you absolutely need to keep, use acid free archival materials for storage of original documents, photographs and newspapers
  36. 36. 2 1 Organizing Paper Record Your Findings Getting Started Digitizing Documents & Pictures
  37. 37. Record Your Findings Use a genealogy software program. The days of maintaining a paper-only database are long gone. There are many free and paid genealogy programs available for entering your information. You can print charts, tables, reports and books from these programs. This makes sharing very easy.
  38. 38. Record Your Findings Keep a research log or journal. Keep a list of books, reference materials, census records and web sites where you have looked for information. Include the date you reviewed the source and what you found - as well as what wasn't there. Record the “not found” citations as well so you won’t do the same thing again in future years.
  39. 39. 3 2 1 Organizing Paper Record Your Findings Organize Family Photos Digitizing Documents & Pictures
  40. 40. Scanning Pictures • To improve the original photos (faded, scratched, damaged, etc.)
  41. 41. Scanning Pictures
  42. 42. Scanning Pictures • To improve the original photos (faded, scratched, damaged, etc.) • To share with others • For preservation
  43. 43. Scanning Pictures Use long and descriptive subdirectories and file names: – C:DocumentsMy PhotosgenealogySmith1938Family Reunion at Brad Smith’s farm.jpg Use separate files to describe the contents of the picture and place that file in the same subdirectory: – C:DocumentsMy PhotosgenealogySmith1938Family Reunion at Brad Smith’s farm.txt
  44. 44. 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!
  45. 45. But How About Documents? Books? Magazines? I file these documents, books, and magazines on the computer’s hard drive in a similar manner to all other files: Long and descriptive file names Use subdirectories to subdirectories to subdirectories…
  46. 46. How to Get Started • Temporarily ignore the backlog of paper that has accumulated over the years • Start with new paper received TODAY or to be received in the future
  47. 47. How to Get Started • Buy a scanner… or two… or three…
  48. 48. My Solution: • I use four different scanners, depending upon the item to be scanned
  49. 49. A desktop flatbed scanner
  50. 50. Flip-Pal
  51. 51. MagicWand
  52. 52. Evernote Scanner
  53. 53. Evernote Scanner
  54. 54. Here is my most-used solution:
  55. 55. My Solution:
  56. 56. My Solution:
  57. 57. 4 3 2 1 Organizing Paper Record Your Findings Organize Family Photos Create a Genealogy Disaster Plan
  58. 58. Create a Genealogy Disaster Plan
  59. 59. Create a Genealogy Disaster Plan • You may be covered by homeowners insurance, but have you “insured” your many hours of genealogy searches? If a disaster does strike, will you be able to replace your genealogy records once you get your life back in order?
  60. 60. Create a Genealogy Disaster Plan • As many items as possible should be stored in a container that can easily be grabbed and removed from the house, if necessary.
  61. 61. Create a Genealogy Disaster Plan • This recommendation applies to genealogy records as well as credit card information, insurance documents, passports, and jewelry. • Almost anything that is portable and also is valuable is a candidate for storage in that box!
  62. 62. Create a Genealogy Disaster Plan • Finally, make backups and store those backups “off site.” • Store copies in a safety deposit box, or at the office, or send a copy to an interested relative. • I also recommend saving copies in the file storage services that are available today, such as Google Docs, Dropbox, iCloud, SpiderOak, or the dozen or more other services.
  63. 63. Create a Genealogy Disaster Plan • In fact, don’t make one backup copy; make several and them store them in different places. • Please remember the acronym: • L.O.C.K.S.S. – Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe
  64. 64. My Solution:
  65. 65. Being organized reduces frustrations!
  66. 66. Being organized reduces frustrations!
  67. 67. www.eogn.com
  68. 68. These slides are available at: http://eogn.com/handouts/organized

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