Monday, February 6, 2012

February 6 – Assemble a travel-friendly research binder

Assemble a travel-friendly research binder with copies of your pedigree charts and family group sheets, your to-do-list, a list of alternate spellings for surnames and places, and note taking forms.

This task is great way to be prepared when you are ready to take your research on the road. Even though you can find a lot of information on-line, you still can’t find everything and your research may need to be taken from the computer to the actual resource center, whether, courthouse, library, or cemetery.

I have started a research folder, where I have place on-line indexes that I have found, but need to look at the actual document to see if they are truly the person I want. For example, I might find a marriage index record that doesn’t list the parent’s names, only the bride and groom and thus I need to view the record to see if their parents are the one I think they should be, or to find out who their parents are.

Also, I will sort the information that I am wanting by county, and can determine if a road trip will be worthwhile based on how much research I will need for that county and the distance of travel. Most of my research is in Wisconsin but I live in Arizona. So when I go back to visit Wisconsin, I can determine which county will help my efforts the most, and perhaps the remainder will have to wait until another time, or find someone else to help with the lookup; such as a distance relative who is also researching that line, or through “genealogy acts of kindness”.

The information contained in these travel-friendly research binders can be stored on laptops, iPad’s, Tablets, or even smartphones. I have my entire tree stored on my smartphone through a program. Not only does it have ever person in my tree, but also my sources and notes. Even though I can’t modify or add to the tree through the smartphone, the information is there for me to review quickly. I also have my tree sync with and I can view it from any computer anywhere. I can also update or add to the data through Personally, I don’t like doing it this way, because I can’t cite the source the way I like, but I still have this option. I also, have my genealogy tree database stored with Dropbox and can access from anywhere. As long as the computer has my genealogy software on it, such as my laptop, I can update the information quickly. I don’t have to worry about moving it to my desktop, because the next time I use my desktop, the current information will be found through Dropbox.

As for note taking forms, most smartphones, iPads and Tablets have ways for you to take notes. You can then use those notes to input your information into your Genealogy Program when you get home, if you don’t have a laptop. I find traveling with a laptop isn’t as easy as traveling with my iPad. My iPad holds a charge must longer, can do more with taking pictures of documents or books. My smartphone has an application where I can “scan” documents and books.

The main thing I learned about today’s task; is to be prepared when traveling by bringing along all your information and your to-do-list (otherwise known as your research goals).

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