Monthly Archives: April 2014

Y is for Your Notebooksalphabet tree

Now that you have some idea of how I am using my OneNote Notebooks, hopefully that has inspired some ideas for your own Notebooks.

Some of you may still be wondering why I would want to use OneNote when I am also using Family Tree Maker. I’ve found that for all the wonderful things that genealogy software can do, it is really best for accumulating names and adding source documentation. Yes, I can then use that information to create and print out charts, reports and books and even share my trees online and with other researchers. For me, though, it’s like the information is there, but hidden unless I print everything out—just like putting everything into folders and putting the folders into file boxes or cabinets locks away the information. Printing everything and feeding more paper into something that easily becomes a pile of paper clutter is something I am trying to avoid. Yet I need access to the information in order to say, “This is what I know, this is where I want to go and this is how I plan to get there.” What I really want is to be able to “see” everything without having to print it on paper. That is the main reason I am saving documentation to my hard drive and using OneNote to reorganize it in a way that helps me analyze what I have so I can see what I need to do and map out a way to get it done.

My chart from Raymond’s Census Page in my Williamson Notebook on the right tells me more than looking at the media content in Family Tree Maker for Raymond. I can see at a glance that I have found him in all but one census and where he was living at the time.

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And further down on Raymond’s Census Page in OneNote, these screen clips tell me even more. I would have had to open each copy of the census in my Family Tree Maker media files in order to see any of this.

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I also find putting everything in OneNote is visually more appealing. [Could be because I am a very visual person, but whatever…] I can see this information coming together to become the story of my ancestor’s life rather than an accumulation of dry facts. It’s a place to start to tell their stories in a visual way. From this starting point, I will be able to do some digital scrap booking in the future.

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About your Notebooks: Whether you start with one of my sample Surname Notebooks (see below) or a Blank Notebook, give some thought to what you’d like to accomplish by using OneNote to further your research.

  • Do you want to use your Notebook as a place to store new research finds until you have time to analyze it and add it to your tree? [Basic storage without paper clutter.]
  • Do you want to work towards becoming more organized in your research or in your document management? [To-do lists / Indexes / Charts]
  • Do you need to place to help your organize your thoughts to do some analyzing? [What do I know?]
  • Do you need a place to figure out what’s missing? [What do I want to know?]
  • Do you need a place to keep a list of resources to check or map out a detailed plan of attack? [How can I find out what I want to know?]
  • Could you use some visual clues to help you do those last three items?
  • Would you like to begin to tell the stories of your ancestor’s lives visually?

You get to decide because it’s your Notebook, and even if you change your mind down the road, you can easily arrange and/or rearrange anything you want, any way you want when it’s all done digitally.

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View on OneDrive

Surname Notebook – Sources sorted by Record Type

View on OneDrive

Surname Notebook – Sources sorted in Chronological Oder

View on OneDrive

Notebook Sections for Task Management

Downloadable Version for OneNote 2013 Downloadable Version for OneNote 2013 Downloadable Version for OneNote 2013
Surname Notebook by Record Type PDF Surname Notebook in Chronological Order PDF Task Management Sections PDF

 

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Cite This Page:

Erin Williamson Klein, “Your Notebooks.” My Family History Files, 10 April 2014 (http://myfamilyhistoryfiles.com/organization/your-notebooks: [access date]).

Please do not copy without attribution and link back to this page.

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alphabet treeContinuing on in my Surname Notebooks and all their quirks… I am giving you a grand tour of my OneNote Surname Notebook section by section and page by page. (Hopefully it still won’t turn into a 3-hour tour and we end up on stranded on Gilligan’s Island…) The very last Section in the Main Section Group [explained in this post] is for Page Templates—templates of the pages I use for each family group in my surname notebooks.

If you missed it, there is more on my notebook setup here [Part 1] and here [Part 2]. At the bottom of this post are links to 2 styles of Surname Notebooks that you can view online at OneDrive and a link to download them and open in OneNote. If all else fails, there are PDF versions as well. [Updated 28 February 2015.]

When I started out at the beginning of 2014 putting my research files into OneNote, I had the Pages for each family group organized by record type—BMD, Probate, Land, etc. My original thoughts were that this would help guide me through the research process as I looked for sources in each record type. I have since switched to keeping the Pages for each family group sorted by person and the sources for each family group and person are listed in chronological order.

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The reason I switched mid-stream is because that is the way the record images are sorted on my hard drive—by person and in chronological order. Sorting everything in OneNote the same way I do on my hard drive allows me to see that I have an entry on the Timeline for each entry on the Source Log and every entry on the Source Log has a Source Description Page that includes its Source Citation and all that matches the list of files on the hard drive.

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I decided to keep the Record Type Surname Notebook as well as the Chronological Surname Notebook because I know that some people sort their record images by type on their hard drive. I thought it would be beneficial to have a Surname Notebook that sorts by record type for those that do.

All the information gathered and sorted in both notebooks is exactly the same, it is just presented in 2 different formats as shown in first graphic above. Both notebooks have Family Group Sheets, Timelines, Record Checklists, Source Logs, Source Description Pages, and Research Plans with a Research Log.

 

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When you are looking at a family group in the Direct Line Surname, Non-Direct Line Surname and the A-Z Lines in the notebooks I created, you will see each one has a Family Group Record [FGR] Template. When you add new family groups to your notebooks, start by adding a Family Group Record Template. This is where all the basic information about each family group begins to be entered into OneNote. [Because I am using the Chronological Surname Notebook, each of the graphics that follow will reflect that.]

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Above the FGR is a place to put charts to help you navigate where you are in your family line when you are working on a particular family group. The charts can be printed from your genealogy software right to OneNote or clipped from a screen shot in your software, from Ancestry or FamilySearch. The charts do not have to be a 4 generation pedigree chart. Use whatever will help you keep track of where this family group fits in your tree.

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Below the FGR is a page for a Timeline. I like using Timelines to help me sort through the information I have gathered to see what is missing and where there are conflicts of information. Use or disregard this template as you desire.

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Below the Timeline is a Record Checklist that you can use to help guide you through the research process. As you locate a source, check it off on the list. In the Record Type Surname Notebook, this list is broken down by record type instead of being one long list and appears in sections on the Page for each record type.

After the Record Checklist is where I am keeping my Research Plans. The form I am using for Research Plans has a Research Log at the bottom of the page. Instead of keeping one Research Log for all my research or sorting it by surname, I am keeping a log of the research and searches I do in conjunction with planned research on a person or family group. [My reason for doing it this way can be found here [LINK]].

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If you prefer to keep a log by surname, you can start a Section in the Main Group for your Research Log and keep it there. If your Research Log is in Excel, embed it on a Page in that Section and with a click you can open your Excel Research Log. Any updates to the log will be reflected in the embedded log in OneNote as well.

 

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Below the Research Plan are new pages for each one of the children. If the husband marries again, I add in a new Family Group Record for that marriage. If the wife remarries, her new FGR gets sorted under her new surname in the Non Direct A-Z Section Group. At the very end are some blank templates for the Sub-Pages that go under the Family Group Record and the Children’s Pages.

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(Some of you are probably taking on water and getting worried about being stranded on the island about now, but the tour is almost over. You’re gonna make it… I promise!)

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The Sub-Pages are all about the sources themselves. The first Sub-Page under the FGR is a Source Log. It contains a list of every record I have for the family group or couple depending on how many sources I have. If there are a lot of sources for the children, I plan to give them their own Source Log as a Sub-Page under their name rather than on the Source Log under the FGR. On the Source Log is a thumbnail of the source image, a link to the full image on my hard drive and a link to the Source Description Page.

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The Source Description Page is where all the nitty-gritty details of the source get recorded. There is space for a larger source image and below that, space to transcribe the details of the image. This is where the source gets cited and it gets evaluated for the evidence it provides in favor of or conflicting with the research information you are trying to prove. There will be one Source Description Page for every source I have for a family group. (Now if I were a really good blogger/family historian, I would have this page perfectly filled out as a shining example of how it’s done. But it’s 2am and I am brain dead… I do have the source citation, however. That counts for something, right?)

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And finally, I owe a big, BIG thank you to Christine Sisko Svircev for sharing her Source Description page and Research Plan with us over at the OneNote for Genealogy Facebook Group. I wouldn’t have been able to put my page templates together without hers. And she helped me solidify my thoughts on the whole Research Log dilemma. Thank you, Christine!!

 

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 Part 1 – Quirks of My Notebooks – The Main Section

Part 2 – More Quirks – Section Groups & Sections

 

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View on OneDrive

Surname Notebook – Sources sorted by Record Type

View on OneDrive

Surname Notebook – Sources sorted in Chronological Oder

View on OneDrive

Notebook Sections for Task Management

Downloadable Version for OneNote 2013 Downloadable Version for OneNote 2013 Downloadable Version for OneNote 2013
Surname Notebook by Record Type PDF Surname Notebook in Chronological Order PDF Task Management Sections PDF

 

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Cite This Page:

Erin Williamson Klein, “Part 3 – Quirks Continued – Pages for Family Groups.” My Family History Files, 11 April 2014 (http://myfamilyhistoryfiles.com/organization/quirks-continued: [access date]).

Please do not copy without attribution and link back to this page.

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alphabet tree

On to my Surname Notebooks and all their quirks… I have made 2 sample Surname Notebooks (updated 28 February 2015) that you should be able to view from OneDrive by clicking on the OneNote Notebook icons at the bottom of this post. I know that you can view that copy online and there is also an “Open in OneNote” link; however, I am not sure if all operating systems or app versions will be able to download from OneDrive. There is a link at the bottom of this post to a downloadable version of the 2 Surname Notebooks. Some of you should be able to download and open a copy in OneNote from that link. And, just to be sure I have all the bases covered, there is a PDF file for both of the Surname Notebooks. [More about why there are 2 versions in this post.]

OneNote 2013 is available for free across multiple platforms.

I’m going to give you a grand tour of parts of my Surname Notebook section by section. (Hopefully it won’t turn into a 3-hour tour and we end up on stranded on Gilligan’s Island…) I should also note that some of this is evolving as I go, so if doing it some other way makes more sense to you, go for it.

The first eight Sections—the Main Group of Sections you see when you look at the Surname Notebook—are for general information pertaining to that Surname. The first Section is an Inbox. It is a holding place for things that need to be moved to people’s Sections and Pages within this notebook. I put things here when I don’t have time to properly sort them to the Sections and Pages where they belong. Or I’m not quite sure yet where it belongs—info for a potential family member that I haven’t yet proved belongs in my line, for example.

The Name Index Section Tab is a table of contents page for your direct line ancestors and non-direct surname collateral lines that are in the first two Section Groups listed after this Main Group. (You can see all 3 Section Groups by clicking on the drop-down arrow.) There are two tables on the first Page in this Section—one table for your direct line ancestors and the other for non-direct (collateral) lines of this surname.  In the tables, you can create links to the Notebook, Section and/or Page to everyone in both your direct line and non-direct lines. Below the first page, there is a page for a generation chart. I print my chart from my genealogy software right to this page. (See Printing to OneNote for instructions on how to do this.) There is also a page for Folklore to list family stories that have been passed down through the generations.

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The next Section Tab is for the third Section Group—Non-Direct A-Z. These are the people who have married into your line. The A-Z Name Index has the same sort of table for indexing the names of the people in this group. I explain a bit more about these 3 Sections Groups here and about the Pages in the Sections here.

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The fourth Section Tab is a simple To Do List. I just kept this simple as I don’t need a lot of detail here. The details all go onto the Pages for the Research Plan / Log.

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The next Section is for Correspondence. I haven’t done a lot with this section yet as I haven’t been sending out requests for records. There is a table on the first Page for Records Requested to log where and when you sent for records and when and what the response was. The next Page in this Section is a place to send emails from others about your surname. Then you are free to clip and paste the appropriate portions of the email to a person’s Pages, leaving the email in one place. Another option is to link from their Pages directly to the email. You can Tag emails that are about multiple people to have the email come up in Searches. [More about Searches [LINK], Tagging [LINK] and using me @ onenote.com [LINK] coming shortly.] One last thing you might keep in this Section is a List of Contacts with an address, email and phone number.

 

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The Bookmarks Section is for anything I find or am doing online that pertains specifically to this surname. Any links to records online that may be pertinent in later research go here. Also, if I am in the middle of browsing through records at Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org and I stop in the middle of the records, I can add a link to wherever I was and return at a later time to pick up right where I left off.

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The seventh Section is for information pertaining to the history of the locations where my ancestors lived. The kind of information that adds to the backdrop of their life and times. If they lived in multiple locations, I start a Page in this Section for each location. On the [Name of Location] Page, I might have maps, copies of / or links to historical articles I find online, copies of old postcards—whatever strikes my fancy at the time. In my example below I even have a link to a historical fiction book written about a local event that I think would be an interesting read.

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Part 2 – More Quirks – Section Groups & Sections

Part 3 – Quirks Continued – Pages for Family Groups

 

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View on OneDrive

Surname Notebook – Sources sorted by Record Type

View on OneDrive

Surname Notebook – Sources sorted in Chronological Oder

View on OneDrive

Notebook Sections for Task Management

Downloadable Version for OneNote 2013 Downloadable Version for OneNote 2013 Downloadable Version for OneNote 2013
Surname Notebook by Record Type PDF Surname Notebook in Chronological Order PDF Task Management Sections PDF

 

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This post was updated on 28 February 2015 with screenshots from OneNote 2013, changes in wording due to changes in my original surname notebook setup and to include the 2 versions of the Sample Surname Notebook.

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Cite This Page:

Erin Williamson Klein, “Part 1 – Quirks of My Notebooks The Main Sections.” My Family History Files, 09 April 2014 (http://myfamilyhistoryfiles.com/organization/quirks-of-my-notebooks: [access date]).

Please do not copy without attribution and link back to this page.

________________________________________________________________________________________

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A bit about me


Erin Williamson Klein
New York > Nevada
Started my research in 1993

Aside from my own family history research, I also have 2 Surname Studies: Williamson in Monroe County New York & Colebach / Colepaugh--a worldwide study & A One-Place Study of Nye County Nevada Boomtowns

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Sourced Database Statistics:
230 people in Williamson branch
15 direct ancestors
72 families total
[number] people properly sourced
[number] remaining to be sourced
[percent] completed

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