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How to record information

Discussion in 'Paper records' started by Shayne, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. Shayne

    Shayne Member

    I am curious about the "How to record information" subforum(?) under the section Research Techniques. There isn't a pop up to show the kind of info we are thinking will populate this subforum.

    Is this section intended to include how to properly record the sources of information we collect, why we record sources, organizing research, filing tips, etc? This could even end up being a collection of links to articles about staying on topic and organized. Does this fall under the resources section? Or, are we planning more in the way of tutorials, tips and tricks?
    • Great question Great question x 2
  2. Some general tips of that nature might be very useful - while not wishing to teach anyone to suck eggs, I for one could have done with some pointers when I started out! I hope I have learned through experience but I think I wasted some time repeating searches along the way. An explanation about why we record sources as well might be useful.
  3. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    To start the ball rolling, here's an example of something that everyone ought to do, but many don't - even I sometimes forget.

    Tip: it's important to record not just what we find, but where we've searched and what we've searched for - otherwise we can end up repeating searches unnecessarily or assuming that we've looked for something that we haven't.
    • Agree Agree x 8
  4. Totally agree, record searches that didn't turn up anything useful, not just the ones that do!
    • Agree Agree x 3
  5. Shayne

    Shayne Member

    It is also useful to know when you completed the search. Volunteer parish transcription are always adding new content. Just because the search was unsuccessful last year does not mean some clue won't be found now.
    • Agree Agree x 6
  6. Shayne

    Shayne Member

    Can we start adding tips to this area or will it follow the same idea as the resources section?

    I'd like to offer a tip. When I first got started, I had trouble because Duncan's first born son was Duncan who's first born son was a Duncan who had... You get the idea. So, I started using colour coded tabs. All of the siblings got the same coloured tabs. Then the next generation would get a different coloured tab. It became very easy to see which was which as the colours allowed me to be able to find the sibs even when I had multiple generations in between.

    I extended this idea to the card catalogue I keep. Each family line has its own colour and the cards are kept in Ahnentafel order. The cards allow me to keep a short hand account of all the records that I have acquired for each person, their siblings and parents. It is also very portable for research expeditions.
    • Useful Useful x 1
  7. Carla

    Carla LostCousins Star

    I hadn't thought about a 'card catalogue' until i joined this forum. I take it a lot of members use this type of record for their research? Shayne have you bought ready made cards etc, or have you made up your own type of record method?
  8. AnneC

    AnneC LostCousins Star

    I started off with a card catalogue, but found it too time-consuming to keep organised. I now have everything on my laptop on Legacy, spreadsheets and OneNote, together with all my photographs and clippings, but do remember to keep several backups on various other machines...I would hate to lose everything!
  9. Shayne

    Shayne Member

    Hi Carla,

    I just use basic recipe cards kept in a plastic box. Very portable and I don't have to worry about them getting damaged. When I first started my research my boys were young. I had to make sure everything was portable and safe or I wouldn't have any Mommy time at all.

    Having 3 boys, a husband and a small farm means we have a very small budget for obsessions...I mean hobbies... :) I have to be creative about solutions as electronic gadgets just don't figure in the budget. I'm not complaining! It is just the way life goes. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

    One of the up sides is I have found that I am very organized and so don't tend to redo a lot of my research as my records won't let me. The tabs and cards act as a kind of balance sheet to my work. I can tell at a glance if I've missed something, where my research is lacking, etc. What's that saying, No pain, no gain. lol lol lol

    I guess I should fess up about how truly over the top I am about organization. I also colour code my file folders. I never have to worry about misfiling because my Macdonnell line is yellow, my McColl line is blue, etc. Sad isn't it... SIGH!
    • Creative Creative x 2
  10. Cathy

    Cathy Moderator Staff Member

    Wow Shayne. I can't imagine keeping organised with a card file. And the thought of a card file being portable is mind boggling. If it works for you, that's great but you obviously have a computer.

    I understand doing Genealogy on a budget. I started when I was unemployed and recovering from illness. If there was a cost it either didn't happen or had to wait.

    All my information is in Legacy and some other digital files. Most files are kept in Dropbox so they're backed up in the cloud as well as on my external drives. Portable to me has now come down to my mobile phone. I run the Families App on it and periodically convert my Legacy file to Families. I haven't yet converted back as I'm not keen on entering data on the small screen but it's all there complete with Sources, To Do items and Research notes. Although I still feel the need of a ToDo list report from Legacy for a library trip.

    Is my digital genealogy all tidy? It's not bad and its millions of times more organised than any paper I have. I'm much better at tidying up my computer than I am at tidying my filing cabinets.:D
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Shayne

    Shayne Member

    My cell phone is one of those designed to make phone calls and not much else. Emergency purposes only. Again, keeps the cost down. Typing on it takes forever. I'll have to take a look at Legacy. I use Family Tree Maker...very old version as I never upgraded in 9 years.

    Think we might be getting off topic but thank you for the thoughts on other ways to organize myself. Saving time is as important as saving money!

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