Need inspiration for getting—and keeping—your genealogy research and workspace organized? These online blogs and social networking communities will help keep you motivated.
You can find organizational inspiration, motivation and ideas by connecting online with similarly minded family historians. You’ll discover strategies for all lifestyles, budgets and work situations. You’ll find encouragement, too, as you realize you aren’t alone in being organizationally challenged. These are my top picks for online organizing advice.
The blogosphere offers detailed how-to-get-organized advice from researchers like you. Enter organize or another keyword in a blog’s search box, or look for posts tagged with an organizing-related topic.
- Elyses Genealogy Blog, by college student Elyse Doerflinger, includes frequent articles on organizing your research, notes and projects. Elyse is the author of two e-books, and she walks you through “The Basics of Organizing Your Genealogy” in a step-by-step video.
- The Family Curator, where I blog, features articles, tutorials and how-tos on organizing and digitizing your family photos, documents and artifacts. Check out the Family Curator on Facebook for more tips.
- Genea-Musings, by master blogger Randy Seaver, holds a wealth of information on organizing your research, especially as it relates to genealogy software.
- The Moultrie Creek Gazette regularly features blogger Denise Olson’s tutorials on using technology tools to organize genealogy research.
- Organize Your Family History, from professional organizer and genealogist Janine Adams, is full of great ideas.
If you need a demo for an app (such as Evernote) or another tool, head to YouTube. When you find a channel you like, keep up with new videos by clicking the Subscribe button and adding it to your personal channel listing in the sidebar (you’ll need a free YouTube account to save channels).
Facebook and Google+
These sites let you join group discussions and get immediate feedback on your questions. Before posting on a group page, read any FAQs and spend some time “lurking” to get acquainted with group practices and topics covered.
To find the Google+ groups mentioned below, enter the group name in the Search box of the main Google+ window. Click the Join Community button for access to the group’s posts and message boards.
- The Organized Genealogist Facebook group mushroomed overnight after Nebraska genealogist Susan Petersen started it last summer. Now more than 6,500 members share ideas, photos and motivation “for organizing our genealogy research—paperwork and digital.” Click Join Group in the top right to request an invitation to join. You’ll find members asking for scanner recommendations, ideas for naming files and scores of other topics.
- Dear MYRTLE’S Genealogy Community on Google + is a central point to keep up with the weekly Mondays with Myrt show. Each live version is hosted as a Google+ Hangout on Air, with recordings available on YouTube.
- Evernote for Genealogy on Google+ aims to help you make the most of Evernote for note-taking and research.
- Organize & Archive Family Keepsakes & Genealogy touches on digitizing, organizing and preserving family history for Google+ users.
- Tech for Genealogy & Family History Researchers encourages Google+ members to “talk tech tools” that can help you get organized and research more effectively.
The giant community bulletin board at Pinterest.com
is filled with photos of organizing ideas, filing tips and office schemes. Individual users “pin” images from the web or from their own computers onto “boards” to showcase ideas on a particular topic. The visual inspiration is usually linked to an online article with information on how to accomplish such organizational loveliness.
Find “pinspiration” on our Organize Your Genealogy Pinterest board. Also try entering the search terms organize genealogy in the Pinterest search box. You can view results grouped as individual pins, as other pinners’ boards related to that topic, or as pinners who focus on genealogy organization. If you’re a member of Pinterest, you can repin ideas to your own boards or click another board’s Follow button to see new pins added to it.
A version of this article appeared in the May/June 2014 issue of Family Tree Magazine