Ruth's Genealogy

“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.”

For the past several days, I have been searching, Googling for the perfect desktop note-taking application. The successful candidate must reside on my computer’s desktop, be very user-friendly, have an unlimited storage capacity, be searchable and be capable of accepting images and links, both internal and external. I want to be able to format it as needed for my genealogical research. Oh, yeah, did I say free?

Several folks have offered suggestions (thanks Thomas, Debbie, Vickie and Yoonsun!). I checked them all out, and all the programs were really great, but still not quite what I wanted.

I kept searching and finding and discarding. I’m just too picky, I guess.

So I then I looked at TiddlyWiki again. I was introduced to it some time ago by Denise of Family Matters. At that time I downloaded it and played around with it for awhile, but just couldn’t get the hang of it. Kinda shoved it to the back burner and went on with my old pencil-and-paper system. Until…

One day about a week ago, I got to looking at my desk and… couldn’t find it for all the bits and scraps of paper! My pencil-and-paper system… half of my notes I couldn’t even read… there’s gotta be a better way… hence Adventures in Googling!

I went back to Family Matters and found Denise’s post about TiddlyWiki. She has created an excellent, very readable guide to using TiddlyWiki for Research. I went to the TiddlyWiki site and downloaded the most recent version. I reread Denise’s guide again and also a wonderful tutorial, TiddlyWiki For The Rest of Us. I actually read them this time!

Now on my second attempt with TiddlyWiki, life is good! There apparently were a couple of bugs in the older version that I had, gone with the new download. Thanks to Denise and TWFTROU, I have it set up the way I want and everything is working perfectly:

There are no images in my “virtual spiral notebook” right now, since the images I have been studying for Nicholas McBurnett are all census sheets and are just too big to add to the notebook. The links are there to the images in my Picasa Web Album, however.

In the Main Menu at the upper left, I have added a couple of “helper links”, until I get used to the formatting needed to add links and images.

If you’re looking for a really great way to keep up with your research notes, give TiddlyWiki a try. And definitely read the manual. It does make a difference!


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