[Image by Jonathan Joseph Bondhus]
Marian Pierre-Louis of the Roots and Rambles Blog has been discussing the format she keeps her genealogical information in (with a follow-up on paper vs. digital) and how it relates to reviewing and analyzing your research.
I seem to follow the same basic pattern she does. My information is stored as follows:
- Print outs in sheet protectors in 3-ring binders, divided by family.
- This includes pedigree and family group sheets, vital records, census records and obituaries. These print outs go into the binder upon entry into my genealogy program.
- Legacy Family Tree genealogy program
- Used to keep track of all of my information in an easy to see format. This is particularly useful for distant cousins who I have limited information on, such as census records. Also on my laptop are digital copies of all records I have used which are in a folder and tagged with metadata on the family and record type.
- Microsoft OneNote
- This allows me to make research plans, type out conclusions and show my methodology into my findings (particularly when using GPS). This is one of the areas I need to focus on more this year.
Why do I have so many ways of keeping my information?
- In order to do any type of analysis, I need the papers out in front of me. I am very much a paper person and see more when I can look at and hold the item in my hands. The papers also allow me to spread out a large amount of documents in front of me to compare information. These are all things I cannot do easily with digital copies.
- There is an ease of looking at the conclusive information in a genealogical program and of looking at my thought process in a word processing program (my writing is awful…) that is not available on paper. I can easily update a birthdate and reprint a new family group sheet much easier than I could re-write one (and with much less possibility of error). By tagging research logs and reports I can find all the work I have done on an individual or family.
- One of my favorite things to do with the information I find is to show it to my family. Although we could all gather around my laptop, it is so much more enjoyable to flip through a binder on the family and look at all of the documents relating to our ancestors life.
What format do you keep your research in?