Also known as Decisions, Decisions…
In order to be more organized, and make the most of my genealogy research, I have for the last few years tried to make good use of the research log in my genealogy software. It has a lot of good things, but there were a lot of things it was missing as well.
Some of those are:
1) the ability to bulk add tasks. If I am going to look for an ancestor in a book, I might as well look for all of them. But it took longer to create the tasks than it took me to look.
2) the ability to easily see what tasks were done, and which were still a work in progress.
In my last post I mentioned I finally purchases Swift To Do list. I love this software, and despite my issues with the price, I am thrilled with the fact that it has solved my research task issues. In fact, so thrilled, that I am leaning towards using it instead of the research log in my genealogy software. But I have spent a long time setting up tasks in the genealogy software, and the question comes to mind, Do I delete the tasks I have set up in the genealogy software? Do I delete just those tasks that were negative? Do I leave them, despite the fact that the tasks are attached to tags, which tend to clutter my Person View?
The thing is, I think differently than most researchers. To me a repository (usually a building) can also be the deed book, will book, roll of microfilm I am looking at. I have the microfilm inventories from the TN state archives where I do most of my research, so I not only know what is on the films, but the microfilm’s roll number as assigned by that archives. So I created a folder for each microfilm roll I am researching. Inside that folder, I created subfolders for each document type on that film. A microfilm roll of deed books might include Deed Books 4-8. Each Deed Book would become a subfolder. I then created a list of tasks for each ancestor which is his/her name, and birth and date years. I can bulk add those as I add new microfilm. (Point one solved)
It’s easy to see which individuals are done, because they turn grey (kinda green on my screen) when I check them off the list, but they are still there for easy viewing and easy printing. And I can have notes about the task right there on the screen. (Point two solved)
I also can add attachments, so the issue of being able to not only see the completed task, but be able to see the scanned image of the document works as easily in To Do List as it does in the genealogy software. I can have notes as well, which is good, since I tend to write every thing down these days.
I will probably leave things as they are for now, making sure my new found toy doesn’t get discarded but instead becomes the research tool I think it’s going to be. While I tend to like to keep things altogether, I have discovered in the last few months that no one tool can do all the things a genealogist needs it to do. I needed a good program to keep up with contacts. Still haven’t decided on the perfect one, so I am using MS Outlook 2007 for the time being. I needed a faster way to create tasks and keep up with research and found Swift To Do list. And if it continues to be this easy to create, edit, mark off tasks, and research progresses as I think it’s going to, I may have to make that decision. To delete or not to delete.
(note: after playing with it for a while, I did change how I had originally planned to set up tasks. But now that I have my system in place it will finally take me longer to research than to set up tasks.)