This week The Master Genealogist released version 9.0. It has some cool new features. Be sure and check out the free trial if you are looking for a good piece of software. Wasn’t expecting an upgrade, but was pleasantly surprised to see it.
For me it’s genealogy as usual. I love TMG, but I’ve never had much luck with it’s research log. I think I am just too much of a perfectionist. :) It works great, but just not the way I work. You know how it is. So about 6 months ago I decided to use Evernote and keep my research log in it. I decided I’d only create research tasks for my direct line and Hubby’s direct line. We are both from Middle Tennessee, and it’s not unusual to see his ancestors selling land to mine. Go ahead and make your “marrying your cousin” jokes. Yes, we are sixth cousins and proud of it. But since our lines are so intertwined, it’s easy to spend a lot of time on people who are related but very distantly and ignore my own ancestors. So the biggest benefit I wanted to get out of Evernote was to organize research, stay on task, and only concentrate on our direct ancestors. Mainly mine. 🙂
A few years back Family Search began putting Tennessee Probate records online. Hopefully they will continue and add deed books as well. The Tennessee State Library and Archives has an inventory of their microfilm done for every county in the state and the roll numbers are on the microfilmed copies held by the Family History Library. In TMG, I use these rolls as my repositories. In Evernote, the roll number is the first thing in the Note name, so the notes sort in order. I prefix each roll with a letter(s) for each county. My main research is Rutherford County, TN, so the notes for it all start with an R.
In Evernote, I have one Notebook for each county. I also have Notebooks for each census year, Civil War research and generic surname research notes. Under each county Notebook, I am slowly but surely creating one Note for each roll of microfilm. Then using TMG, I search for all my ancestors that were alive during that film’s time period and I create a task list for those ancestors. As I search the roll of film, I make notes about those ancestors. As I find the will, deed, census record, I copy it to Evernote, make a source citation in TMG and copy that to Evernote, as well. That way the document and the source citation are all in one place.
Evernote allows tags. I created one tag for each ancestor. As I find an ancestor on a document, I tag that note with that ancestor’s name. This allows me to click on the tag for the ancestor and see all the notes I have for that ancestor. This way I can see a list of tasks for a certain roll of microfilm (Note), a person (tag), or a county (notebook).
I can work on a roll of microfilm for several hours and leave and come back a few weeks later and pick up where I left off. If I need to see a list of things I have completed for an ancestor, I just click on their tag.
So tonight, there is no ancestor story. Just spending this cold Saturday night doing a little research and document organization. And trying in 2014 to be more organized with that research, so that I don’t redo the same research over and over again. I want to make sure I have thoroughly done all I can online for free, before I pay for a trip to TN to research at the state archives. And hopefully the next time I go, I will be organized enough to not waste any time whatsoever. If only I’d done this 25 years ago. 😦
EXAMPLE OF A NOTE:
R204 County Court Clerk, Settlement Books 1-2 (1883-1892)
Indexed on Roll 203
Book 1, 156, 229, 417, 541,
Book 2, 34
Book 1, 417
Book 1, 615, 650