My February do over

I am now a week into the February or #Month2GenealogyDoOver.

January was setting previous research aside and preparing to research. I have changed one thing though, and that is I am now using OneNote instead of Evernote. Read rest of post for reasons why.

First task for February is:

Establishing base practices and guidelines

I still haven’t installed Legacy because if I did, I know I would immediately start adding data and I want to be more organized this time when creating my database. I have started watching some of the Legacy videos but until I actually start inputting, I feel this is a waste of time at the moment.

When I began researching over 40 years ago in the time of microfilm and microfiche, I learnt early about starting with my self and working back one generation at a time. I filled in pedigree charts and family groups sheets but I didn’t necessarily take notice of the sources. I filed these charts and sheets away in folders in month 1 of the do-over.

Back in the seventies and eighties when I was researching, it was mainly about finding names, dates and places. This time I will be looking for stories as well. I learnt more about this when doing the University of Tasmania (UTAS) online course called Introduction to Family History late in 2014.

When looking at documents, I will make sure I scan or download then transcribe each one and take note of all the information on it, not just the bits I am looking for. Some of those extra names might lead to more relatives or the event might lead to newspaper reports etc. Part of the UTAS online course was about the importance of analysing every document to find out what is included and can help you on the next step to your research.

So my base practices and guidelines will include:

  1. Always include sources when noting data for Legacy database. Do not include names without at least one source mentioned per event.
  2. Research the stories of each person not just dates, places etc.
  3. Transcribe documents and save scan/download/transcriptions in relevant family notebook in OneNote.

The second task for February is:

Setting research goals

To do this I also need to be organized in how I will be keeping data together before putting on the Legacy database.

After looking at the pros and cons of Evernote and OneNote, I decided to use OneNote as it is more like a notebook with dividers and pages. Here are some screen shots of what I have done so far.

onenote notebooksI have created a notebook for each direct line surname in my tree. These can now be found on my PC, my laptop and my ipad and will sync immediately anything is added. It is all saved up in the cloud on my OneDrive. I still need to find out how to find my OneDrive – am assuming it is something like my Google Drive. On my desktop PC at the moment, I am just clicking on OneNote icon in the task bar and all the notebooks are there.

onenote notebook picWithin each surname notebook I have a to do list relating to that surname. I also have a divider for each couple with that surname. So with my SMITH family notebook, there is a to do list, Robert and Irene my great grandparents have a divider and William and Sarah Ann my great great grandparents have their divider. The pink line across the top means it relates to the pink divider.

onenote pages pic

Now within each divider I can have separate pages eg family group sheet, timeline, newspaper reports, electoral rolls etc. These are all in pink so again relate to William and Sarah Ann in the SMITH notebook.

I still have to create the pages for each divider in the other notebooks. But I have three weeks of February to do that, to get Legacy installed and watch the rest of the videos when inputting my data and that of my parents.

My first research goal is to fill in a family group sheet for my parents and their parents within the relevant divider in the correct surname notebook. Anything I don’t know will be highlighted in yellow and added to the to do list for that surname.  Luckily most of my information will be found online at the LINC Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office (TAHO) website where all records, between 1803 and 1930, have been digitized for births, deaths and marriages in the Tasmanian names index.

My second goal will be questioning my parents to help fill in more information and showing me original documents if they have them eg birth, marriage certificates. I will use my ipad app Soundcloud to tape any interviews as these can also be added to the notebook or in a post on my blog.

 Readers: Are you using Evernote, OneNote, Google Drive, Excel spreadsheets or what to collate your information? Why did you choose that format?



Letter I challenge

Character Question Mark

Creative Commons License One Way Stock via Compfight

This week I am still trying to decide what I will use to collate all the


I will be gathering about my ancestors.

  • Will I use Evernote or OneNote?
  • Will I use a checklist associated with a timeline?
  • What is the easiest way to keep track of all this information?

Previous to this genealogy do over with Thomas MacEntee, this is what I used to do:

At archives or library

  1. Decide on surname to research – check microfilms, microfiche, newspapers
  2. Write info on paper with some basic source – I could find again but perhaps not another relative
  3. Go home and add the info to the database on my computer software programme
  4. Before the next visit, print out family group sheets to add the new information on there, instead of scraps of paper

But now I am researching more online, how can I make use of my time more effectively and efficiently?

I am thinking of buying a MacBook Air that is light to carry, download Microsoft Office 2016 on it – that means OneNote, keep the Macbook just for genealogy, learn how to use OneNote so I have a notebook per family and pages per family member with a checklist and timeline per person on their page. Hopefully clip and add to their pages. ALso have my genealogy software on this Macbook.

Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with I that relates to your family history or your research.

letter I