I’m on a pause in my genealogy research. Aside from the usual running after the kiddos, trying to keep up at work, and summertime family events, we’re packing up and moving our house.
One thing I’ve been doing that I hope will help me pick up my research after this short (fingers crossed!) break is recommended in our upcoming Time-Saving Tools and Techniques for Genealogists weeklong online workshop: I’ve been keeping my genealogy to-do list in a research log on Google Drive. Here’s what it looks like:
I include columns for the
- Status: I can mark this to do, in progress or done
- Research Task: a description of what needs doing
- Repository/Site: I’ll include the name of the repository or website I need to visit or send a request to
- Name: the name of the main person(s) named in the record, plus anyone else who should be included
- Place: the city or town where the repository is located
- Notes: any details that will help me find the record I need, such as places I’ve already looked, volume and page numbers found in an index, the repository website, etc.
- Prep Work Needed: Anything I should do before I visit a repository or request a record goes here
- Findings: Once a task is done, I can record whether my search was successful
I can access my research log on Google Drive from my home or work computer, as well as my phone. It’s sortable by any column, so if I’m visiting the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s (PLCH) well-known genealogy collection, for example, I can sort by the Repository/Site column and gather all the tasks that need to be done at PLCH—saving myself some time in the long run. Or if I want to see what needs to be done for my second-great-granduncle Frank Thoss, a Civil War veteran, I can sort by Name.
The Time-Saving Tools and Techniques for Genealogists weeklong online workshop, happening July 24-31, has a video class called Research Logs for the Rest of Us, which helps you set up and use a research log.
Another video class from this workshop that I’m excited about is Source Citations for Regular People. It shows you how to break down creating source citations into chunks, so crafting them and inputting them into your software doesn’t take forever.
You can get details on the rest of the week-long workshop classes, which cover online searching, genealogy goal-setting, time management and more, on Family Tree University.
Because genealogists are often inspired by each other, Time-Saving Tools and Techniques for Genealogists workshop participants also can share tips, best practices and questions on a conference message board.