Saturday, October 8, 2011

Legacy Genealogy Cruise: Day 2 (PM)

After our lunch break on day 2, we came back to two more sessions: “managing your genealogy data” and “building a research toolbox” with Thomas MacEntee.

I think many (most? all?) genealogists have a data management problem.  It is hard for people who love the search to always sit down and put the information into notebooks and computers in an organized fashion.  "Managing Your Research Data" focused on organizing your genealogy data on your computer.  Thomas gave a multitude of ways to store your data, with the most important part being to do what makes sense to you.  I really liked his discussion on tags in Windows.  By tagging your images, both photographs and record images, you can make it easier to find the data you are looking for.  Tags I am now using include my surnames, "Census", "Military", and "Birth".

I loved the way he sets up his genealogy information, basically one big folder with files titles "Surname-First Name-Record".  For instance, I now have a file titled "Whitehead Charles William Census 1900".  This is simple, everything is easy to find, and makes it easy to remember how to name files.Thomas uses maiden names for women's documents and "unknown" for a woman whose maiden name has not been found.  I spent the rest of the trip moving files into a new folder under this naming idea and making sure all the information from them was added to my Legacy database properly (so easy to source everything thanks to this mornings session!)  After the tagging session, this was the session that most helped me out (3rd were the photo sessions by Steve Salisbury that were later in the cruise).

Next Thomas continued his recommendations on data management by gaving a presentation on "Building a Research Toolbox".  He has previously done this as a webinar for Legacy, which you can purchase.  He also has his toolbox available on his personal blog.  The toolbox is all about being able to find the websites and resources you have used in the past when you need them.  Again, it is important to use a format that you enjoy and will keep updated.  Ideas include a basic text or spreadsheet format, a note taking program, a blog or a social bookmarking site.

After classes were over, it was time to run back to the room to get ready for our first formal night.  Held in the dining room, this was a fun time to meet other genealogists on the cruise and discuss research.  The ship then sailed on to our first port, Portland, Maine.

Miss the other posts on the Legacy Genealogy Cruise: 29 Sept-8 Oct 2011?  Find them here.


  1. Thank you for sharing what you learned. You reminded me of the importance of using tags on windows files.

    I attended Thomas's Building a Research Tool Box Webinar several months ago. I highly recommend it too.

  2. @michelle goodrum, I'm glad! Thomas is just as great in person as on the web:-)


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