Notes from the past…

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy Week #29: Organizational Tools

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Which organizational tool or tip is your favorite? How did you find it? How does this tool or tip assist in your family history research?

The internet has revolutionized the process of family history research. Images, documents, data: these are frequently accessible within minutes, rather than the days-to-weeks required when using the “old” telephone and postal methods. Simply put, we are a quick-fix society.

However, there are draw-backs encountered with instant cyber-searching. A significant problem (for me, at least) is distraction. Many times have I gone online with a specific goal in mind, say finding Great-grandpa Henry in the recently-released 1940 U S Federal Census, only to find myself wandering off track, maybe clicking on an interesting advertisement or making a quick check of my email or possibly my Facebook page. It is easy to do!

One solution I have found for the problem of online distractions is making a list of ancestors to study and routine research maintenance needs. Hence my weekly Last Week’s Research Activities posts.

Each week (usually on Monday), I make a list of ancestors that I am researching (no more than five), as well as routine tasks such as making database back-ups and updating my genealogy website. When the next Monday rolls around, I check off the tasks that I have completed, and then make a new list for the upcoming week.

This list is not set in concrete and the world will not end if I don’t complete each item, but it does serve as an excellent guide to keep me focused and organized.

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52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your thoughts on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

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