Like most genealogists, when I first started doing genealogy, I attended lost of genealogy conferences. All the speakers were fond of Research logs, however, they weren’t real fond of telling you how to keep up with all that information once you got past five ancestors. I think the main reason was that they didn’t know how to either. Well, time has gone by and lots of ideas have been laid out, and so the most recent band wagon is one I decided to give a ride.
Lots of people are fond of Evernote. I tried it, but found it really slowed down my computer, so I abandoned it. But then someone pointed out that you can have folders that are stored on your local machine. You have to be responsible for backing them up, but hey, I have to back up everything else I use on my computer so why not give it one more try.
So the first thing I needed was a list of ancestors to keep up with research for. We all have those ancestors that are our own research, and those that we got from some distant cousin taking us back to Adam and Sarah (yes, they are that prone to mistakes). I didn’t want to add all of them, since I want to do the research myself, so I decided my fourth great ancestors and down was good place to start. Most of that is my own research. I started by creating a note for each ancestor so I could link from that ancestor to records.
Once I had a note for every ancestor I knew, I then created a list of ancestors that I needed to look up on all the records in TN. For the most part all my ancestors to that point were in TN at some point during their lives.
Once I had a master list of ancestors, I copied that to a new 1850 Census Research note. (continue through all the census years to 1940). Then I created a check list. Marked off all the ancestors who were either already dead by 1850 or hadn’t been born yet, and now I have a list of ancestors that I need to find the 1850 census for. As I work through the list, I make notes to myself, like where they were found, who was living there, etc.
I hope after a few
years months of doing this, I will have a good research log to use with my genealogy program. In the mean time, I will at least know where I left off working on finding my ancestors.
I don’t know if this method is going to be the greatest research log until I have used it for a long time, but at least it is helping me keep up with who I have found and who I haven’t and that has to be beneficial in some way.