Sunday, July 10, 2016

Research Notes

Between myself and other people my Research Notes in Legacy became a catch-all for anything and everything that didn't fit somewhere else, or work intended to be done later. Years since I first thought I should I've finally cleared my Research Notes of almost everything except census records.

Even with another twenty good years I won't live long enough to enter the data for 989 heads of household and their assorted spouses and children over several decades each so I'm leaving them alone. For now. They've all been tidied up so they can be printed in reports looking just fine. Close enough.

Although I'm fascinated with any kind of note organization software, the point of making OneNote or Evernote a way-station for genealogy research has gone right over my head. Maybe I just haven't looked into it enough.

No matter where you put your genealogy stuff to begin with, eventually it's supposed to end up in your database, right?

If I was to add one more third-party tool to 'organizing' my head might explode.

So I thought I'd shorten the process, now that I've taken the convenient dumping ground of Research Notes out of my realm of possibility.

The more this extended family thing stretches out the more it seems critical to be super-efficient about it. Unless you're really laid back and the pressure of it never gets to you.

I had an idea awhile back that I would quit when I got to 20,000 people. Well, it's now 22,135 and I still haven't found my missing great-grandfathers so this could go on for a bit longer.

I work on two monitors. I have Legacy open on one. I have Firefox open on the other. When I find a record I want I enter it immediately. I copy the text, strip the tab spaces out it using The Remove Extra Whitespace Tool, find the Master Source or create a new one, enter the Source Detail where appropriate and cite the source wherever it's needed.

Then I download the image, if there is one, number it, name it, enter the source citation and the rest of the metadata, and file it. Done.

Now there's the issue of what else I find out of the corner of my eye while I'm traveling around. I have a folder called for filing. I could call it rabbit holes or something like that.

If I see something interesting I simply drag the URL into the folder and forget about it til later when I might be interested again.

I would hate to miss anything.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Are You Organized Yet?

I've been thinking about this again after talking to Cuz. She sounded a bit dejected. We're both getting older and the time's coming to pass on our family history work to the next generation. Not right this minute but we're both old enough to be thinking about it. She said no-one wants her work because we live in a world of instant gratification and genealogy takes time and no-one's got time.

True. Sort of. If you're looking at it in the worst possible frame of mind.

It's not that people don't want your genealogy, which a lot of people say. Everybody wants their family history. It's a very IN thing nowadays. Everyone wants a family tree. What people DON'T want is the chaos of it.

I could stop here and tell some stories but I won't ...

Suffice to say --- Relatives come into your house and see papers and books and file folders and boxes scattered around everywhere and they immediately think, NO! I DON'T WANT THAT. They can hardly wait for you to die so they can throw it all away. Of course, chaos comes with the territory.

It's a matter of degree. If you can hand someone else a somewhat tidy package of files and instructions they might make it to the next step.

Step One for the Uninitiated: Take a Deep Breath. Do Not Be Afraid.

I wrote two posts on taking inventory over five years ago. My system hasn't changed much since then. I did what I said I was going to and I update the README files monthly to note any changes. It's gotten better tuned as I've gone along. And it takes the weight off my mind knowing at least I've tried to do something about it.

Genealogy Filing: Taking Inventory, Part 1
Genealogy Filing: Taking Inventory, Part 2