Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I've GOT to get organized -- Update

   It has been a little over two months since I started this project. My guess is I'm a little shy of half way. I have five deep file drawers of research notes and I'm into the third drawer.
   I've changed my mind about how to deal with newspaper clippings, primarily obituaries. I'm scanning them and making a printout, but I'm not attaching them to the printout and keeping them with the research notes. Instead they are going into clear plastic sleeves and filed in three-ring binders with other records pertaining to that family.
   One of the interesting items I found that I didn't know I had was a deed from 1868 for a cemetery lot in Calvary Cemetery in Chicago purchased by my 3rd great grandmother Margaret Harbison. She was a widow and her husband, John Harbison, and other family members, are buried there.

   I must admit, a lot of my sources are not well documented. Some are from when I was just starting and others are from when I should have known better.
   So, just in case there are a few new genealogists out there who haven't heard this sermon from Genealogy 101, let me repeat it. If you follow these rules, you will thank yourself and save yourself an immense amount of time later.

   When taking notes:
   Never, ever, ever put information about more than one ancestral family on the same sheet. Ultimately, you will have to sort your information by families. Having more than one ancestral family on a sheet will require, at minimum, a photo copy.
   Never, ever, ever put information from more than one source on the same sheet. You may need to sort your notes by places or record types and breaking this rule will lead to more time-consuming photo copies.
   Never, ever, ever write on the back of a sheet. When you analyze your data and you lay those notes out on your desk, part of the information will be hidden and perhaps overlooked. More photo copies.

   And last, but not least:
   Always, always, always record where the information came from -- IN DETAIL.
   Oh, I wish I had followed these rules years ago. My current organizational effort would be so much easier. 

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more with this post. Part of my struggle is trying to re-establish someone else's research when they don't have any sources listed. I was VERY guilty of not including sources and I regret it now.

    For 2009-2010, I scanned every piece of family history notes, vital documents, journal entries, etc. I LOVE having it not only portable but easily searchable. I was amazed at all of the details that were overlooked before. I 'found' new people and facts that I just hadn't noticed.

    This led me to my next step of making sure every piece of information I had was attributed as a source or comment to those folks on my family tree. That was quite an undertaking but well worth the effort.

    I think having a digital copy of everything makes 'breaking' the first few rules okay because you can copy the file easily in digital forms. But I do understand the general concepts of them.

    However.... document in detail where you found the information is the number one rule that everyone should follow.

    Thanks for your post.