The excitement and hoopla of RootsTech 2016 ended last Saturday and I came home with a bag, two new books to peruse, class notes, and lots of pieces of paper. So what’s next?How do I organize everything I collected so I can find it when I need it? How am I going to use what I learned to make a difference in my family history efforts?
After attending the Brigham Young University Family History Conference in 2015, I knew I needed to come up with a better method for keeping track of my conference paraphernalia! I had started using Evernote to organize my family history findings, so I decided to create a new notebook and title it “All About Genealogy”. If you haven’t tried Evernote, this might be a good time to check it out. You could also use OneNote, or other computer program for organization. I learned how to use Evernote from Colleen Greene’s blog post: “Evernote for Genealogy: The Foundation of My Research Organization System.” She has great tips for organizing notebook, tags, etc.
After each genealogy conference or class, I follow these steps:
Step 1) Divide and Conquer: I sort my papers into piles such as: discard, ideas for memory preservation, upcoming genealogical conferences, research helps, etc.
Step 2) Investigate Vendor Information and Add to Evernote: Each piece of paper generally has a website associated with it, so I look up the website and decide if it is interesting enough to add to Evernote. After adding several notes, here is what my Evernote “All About Genealogy” notebook looks like. In this snippet view, I can see at a glance my latest notes, click on the URL to go to a website, search any word in the note, and tag each note for easy sorting later.
Step 3) Organize Class Notes: Before RootsTech, I uploaded the class notes from the syllabus to Evernote, then I added my own notes during the lectures. Each class note gets several tags so I can easily find all of the information I’ve collected on “maps” or “Persi”. I ended up taking some handwritten notes a few times, so I type those into Evernote as well. I’ve said goodbye to stacks of handouts that I seldom looked at once the conference was over. Here is the view of one of the handouts from the conference. I’m basically making my own customized syllabus.
Step 4) Set Goals for the Future: Taking some time to evaluate what I really took away from the conference, I set goals in two areas: memory preservation and research helps.
Memory preservation Goals:
- Try Kindex, an innovator summit semi-finalist, to index my great, great grandfather, William Henry Kelsey’s journal. I’ve applied to be a beta tester and want to invite my extended family to digitally transcribe the journal so it will be searchable.
- Explore JRNL, an innovator summit finalist, and see if I can’t get back on track with the record of my own life.
- Interview my mother and flesh out her personal history. David Isay’s StoryCorps inspired me to discover more.
- Master using PERSI, the Periodical Source Index, now on FindMyPast.
- Try mind mapping techniques to conquer difficult research problems.
- Study “Mastering Genealogical Proof (National Genealogical Society Special Topics Series)
I added my goals to Evernote and set a reminder for one week. Each week I’ll review my goals and keep track of my progress.
Posing with Nicole at the FamilySearch booth -RootsTech 2016