Sunday, January 8, 2012

January 8

January 8 – Start a research log or journal. You can download a free template (along with other forms, some of which you’ll use later) from

Free research logs that you want to print can be found in more places than just, you could try or Just use your favorite web search site and type in “free genealogy research forms” and see what you find. Find a form you are comfortable using. You could always create your own form but look at other forms and make sure you are not forgetting to record anything important.
If you are trying to stay green, you could use your computer, smartphone, tablet or iPad to record your research log. Just use a simple word processing program to type in your efforts.  I’m going to be using this blog when I find time to actually do some research to record what I have been doing.
Another option might be just a simple notebook dedicated for your genealogy research efforts. Start each page with the date, what your goals are such as finding Great-Great-Grandpa John Thielke’s parent’s burial place. Then start recording where you have looked, what you found. Perhaps you find other information during your search and you want to come back later. You could easily place a post-it-note flag on the page in your notebook. You could highlight the text that you are flagging. When you find time to follow-up on that flag, remove the flag from that page and of course start a new page with those research notes efforts.
You might wonder “Why do I need to bother with all this extra work?”  You will appreciate being able to go back and review your research efforts. First, it may prevent you from repeating the same steps that resulted in no results. Let’s say that I was unable to find John Thielke’s burial place, I could review where I have looked and continue my efforts on another day, perhaps months later. 2nd, it may help to look at your notes with fresh eyes. Also, what a wonderful gift to give the next generation that continues your work, they will be able to follow in your steps. This is a wonderful place to record websites you visited. I know I have wanted to return to hidden treasurers and when I type in the same phrase into the same search engine, I get different results and can’t find that darn website again.
If you are researching a lot of branches, you might want to create separate notebooks, one for your maternal line, another for your paternal line, or even divide up based on Ancestral Surname. The inside cover of the notebook would be a great place to list all co-lateral line surnames that you might come across. If you just what one notebook; perhaps use different color highlighters and highlight the top of the page with a color that corresponds to the proper ancestral line. Such as pink for your maternal mother’s line, and blue for your paternal father’s line, green for your paternal mother’s line and yellow for your maternal father’s line. These colors end up matching my filing folders where I file everything. Of course this is another subject.

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