Excel spreadsheet for New Hampshire – a combined planning tool and research log
After my first day at the Family History Library, I realized I need a major over-haul of my research log. For quite a while now, I’ve used Excel to plan what materials to research at a repository and updated the spreadsheet with what I’d located. However, I didn’t have a really good way of incorporating that into a research log.
However, I think I’ve come up with a system that will work and is relatively simple to use. Continue reading
Screenshot of the Scrivener “cork board” which allows you to organize your writing
Growing up I always had pen and paper in hand. I’d sketch out newspaper templates, and would write amusing articles for my family’s enjoyment. As I grew older, the pen was replaced by a typewriter. In my Sophomore year at Elsinore Union High School, I was given the opportunity to write for The Rancho News, where I’d cover the happenings at our local high school for the community newspaper.
One of my first newspaper articles, published in The Rancho News
By 15, I was taken on as a paid, freelance reporter. Toting my 35mm camera, I’d cover stories such as the design of the Riverside County Emergency Medical Services (the predecessor of 911), area floods, and how the gas crisis of 1979 was affecting Temecula residents. My first paycheck was a whopping $18.37, but I was in heaven – getting paid for something I LOVED! Continue reading
PDFs are great for compiling documents
I love PDFs. They are great for compiling photos of documents. Take, for example, the photographs of the pension file for Thomas H. Stanwood who served in the Civil War. The original documents were photographed by my cousin who lives in Washington, D.C., and was kind enough to visit the National Archives and take the digital images for me.
After reading (and re-reading) the documents, I like to draft a summary of my findings and copy the images into a Word document. Continue reading
Ancestry.com – making my research easier
The year was 1994, and I remember the day like it was yesterday. That sound…that beautiful sound of a dial-up modem, connecting to the internet. My husband was by my side, showing me what the “world wide web” was like. I was mesmerized and astounded. I don’t recall what I said, but I’m sure “WOW!” was in there somewhere. Not that there was a ton of genealogy sites online in 1994, but my immediate thought was how this “www” thing was going to revolutionize genealogy.
Well, here we are, more than a decade (almost two!) later. My dial-up modem has been replaced with wireless internet service and WiFi in my home. The internet has grown, and we have a lot of free genealogical stuff available to us online. Continue reading
I’ve gotten used to the snickers of my coworkers, who are amused by my use of technology. Hey, my goal is to be efficient, and technology is the best way to get there. One of the things I learned long ago is whenever possible, only touch a paper once. Then either file it, toss it, distribute it….don’t save it for later. Well, often that’s not possible. Especially in genealogical research, we need to spend time truly analyzing and “digesting” or mentally “processing” a document. I find when I’m in the middle of a research project, I don’t have time to finish all that I want to accomplish. I may have worked on a family line all weekend long, but alas, Monday morning comes and off to work I go. I don’t want to forget where I’m at in the project, so I’ll “ToodleDo” it – that is, add it to my online, cloud-based task management system, so I can pick back up where I left off on the upcoming weekend. Other times I find I get bored working on one family line, and just need a break. However, again, I don’t want to forget about ideas I had for research, or overlook data entry of documents gleaned at repository.
Last Spring I was working furiously on my Bursley family, preparing for our New England trip. Well, I was also researching several other lines while at the same repositories, and consequently, brought back a considerable amount of data that needs to be reviewed, analyzed, and where appropriate, entered in my database. The items above are some of the “to do” items for my Bradstreet and Bursley families.
ToodleDo also allows you to include notes for each item. Continue reading
A few weeks ago I wrote about my love affair with Evernote, a free application that I use both at work and at home. Evernote and Roots Magic, my primary genealogical software, provide my main source of organizing my genealogical research and documents. I love both.
Evernote even searches text from images!
As much as I love Evernote, yesterday I began to question my organizational system. Continue reading
Hannah (Higgins) Higgins, niece of my 4th Great Grandmother, Betsy (Wasgatt) Stanwood. Photo courtesy of Holly Green.
My favorite ancestor is Betsy (Wasgatt) Stanwood. She was one tough lady. She was five months pregnant when she married my 4th great grandfather, Benjamin Stanwood, in 1808. Not exactly politically correct in the early 19th century. When Benjamin died, she managed the family farm, and was listed as head of house on nearly all subsequent censuses. When her grown children and spouses moved to Minnesota, she went along for the ride, but came back to her home – Eden (now Bar Harbor), Maine. She apparently made this trip alone, although she was nearly 80 years old at the time. I love Bar Harbor – I understand why she came home.
I’ve dabbled in my Wasgatt genealogy throughout the years, but was again inspired to pick it back up when I saw the Wasgatt family Bible in Bar Harbor last summer. Armed with this info, and starting from scratch, I’ve been going through generation after generation, adding appropriate sources that I either lacked in my beginning days, or were dropped when moving from one genealogy program to the next.
One really cool thing about retracing your steps after so many years is that there are a lot more resources available online to assist. Continue reading