OneNote A-Z

P is for Printingalphabet tree

The easiest way to add a file−document, PDF, photo, genealogy chart−is to use the Print Function in the program where you are viewing the document. If you would like to “see” the file on a Page in your Surname Notebook, this is the simplest way to accomplish that.

One of the Pages that I have added to my direct line ancestors is a Timeline that I’ve made up as a table in MSWord. Shown below is the 8 page Timeline for my great grandfather, Henry George Buisch.




To get this document into the Buisch Notebook in Henry’s Section, I would Click File > Print > Under “Printer” choose “Send to OneNote 2013” from the drop-down menu > Click Print.



Note that I have OneNote in my task bar at the bottom of the screen but it’s not currently opened. After a few seconds, the task bar icon will start to blink. When I open OneNote, I get a window that that asks where I want to insert the printout with a list of my Notebooks. I can choose a Section or a Page inside a Notebook. I want the Timeline to be on its own Page that I will make a Subpage of Charts & Reports so I chose the Buisch Notebook and then Henry’s Section.



OneNote opens the Notebook and Section I chose and the Timeline is added as a Page at the bottom of the Page Navigation Menu as “Printout”. All that’s needed is to change the name of the Page and to move it up under Charts & Reports and then slide the Page tab to the right to make it a Subpage.



I really love this option for the Charts & Reports that are available in my genealogy software. I decided to add the Bow Tie Chart I created for yesterday’s post where I was trying to figure out how many names I would have going back 5 generations from my father’s parents to his Charts & Reports Page. Here is the chart in Family Tree Maker. Click Print > Choose Send to OneNote 2013.



This time I chose the Charts & Reports Page instead of just my father’s Section in the Williamson Notebook.



The Bow Tie Chart is inserted onto the Charts & Reports Page for my father. I moved the second page of the chart up to nest next to the first page.


In the next two posts, I will show you other ways to attach and insert files.



Cite This Page:

Erin Williamson Klein, “Printing to OneNote.” My Family History Files, 12 April 2014 ( [access date]).

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


G is for Gatheralphabet tree

I am going to suggest a slow, steady and systematic way to input your research into your Surname Notebooks. It’s really not as daunting as it sounds.

1. Pick just one Surname to start with and focus solely on that Surname.
2. Start with the closest person related to you in that line that is deceased. For many of us that would be either a parent or grandparent.

I chose to start with my father’s line as I don’t have all my mother’s line entered into my genealogy software yet. I figured if I started with my grandparents in that line and went back 5 generations from there that would be 64 names at the most. I estimated I could have this done in a year if I entered 1 name per week. For my line shown below, I have 30 names plus a second husband for 1 person and 1 line that goes back 1 more generation—33 names total—so it would take less than a year at that rate.


Bow Tie Chart for Williamson + Buisch

To get started:

3. Gather all the research documents you have for the person you are starting with.
4. Assess what you have:

All applicable census records?
Source citations?

5. What don’t you have that you would like to find?

For now just make a note of what’s missing. create a list on the Name Page of the person you are working on. [Trust me, just make a list for now otherwise you will likely get side-tracked in a major way. Don’t ask how I know this.]

6. What else would you like to add to your Surname Notebook for each person?

I try to add a chart of some sort from either or Family Tree Maker.

7. Next, you are going to scan and download from online sources everything you have gathered.

Download what you can from online sources and then scan photos and documents you have from other sources.

I save everything in a folder on my hard drive. The folder is labeled as SURNAME_Name_Initial_b2023. Each document, photo, etc., gets saved as:


My 2nd great grandmother’s baptism would look like this:


The EventYearMonthDay is an 8-digit number. For example, a census document is the year of the census followed by 4 zeroes. The baptism from above is 18280413 for 13 April 1828. This way everything should order itself from the earliest item to the latest inside the folder.


I know someone out there is thinking, “But, Erin, I have 29,000 names in my tree!” Hire help. That’s all I’m saying. [Just kidding…] Think in terms of your direct lines only. As I said above, if you start with one set of grandparents and go back 5 generations from there, that is only 64 names assuming you have every person named going back that far. Sixty-four names is doable in a year. Worry about the next 64 names in 2015.

In the next few posts, I will show you a couple different ways to add the documents to your Surname Pages so you can start adding what you gathered together.

Remember: Slow, Steady and Systematic

1 Surname / 1 Name at a time / 1 Week at a time / For 1 year



Cite This Page:

Erin Williamson Klein, “Gather Your Research Documents.” My Family History Files, 11 April 2014 ( [access date]).

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


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.


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.



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.


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.



View on OneDrive

Surname Notebook – Sources sorted by Record Type

View on OneDrive

Surname Notebook – Sources sorted in Chronological Order

View on OneDrive

Research Quandaries Notebook

Link to “By Record Type” Surname Notebook Link to “Chronological Sources” Surname Notebook Link to Research Quandaries Notebook
Surname Notebook by Record Type PDF Surname Notebook in Chronological Order PDF



This page was updated on 12 April 2020 with new links to the notebooks on OneDrive.

Cite This Page:

Erin Williamson Klein, “Your Notebooks.” My Family History Files, 10 April 2014 ( [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 to Nevada
Started my research in 1993

Following the GPS!

Sourced Database Statistics:

2 of 2 people identified as parents
4 of 4 people identified as grandparents
8 of 8 people identified as great-grandparents
16 of 16 people identified as 2x great-parents
30 of 32 people identified as 3x great-grandparents
44 of 64 people identified as 4x great-grandparents
52 of 128 people identified as 5x great-grandparents
32 of 256 people identified as 6x great-grandparents
14 of 512 people identified as 7x great-grandparents
8 of 1024 people identified as 8x great-grandparents

Participating In:

WikiTree worldwide family tree
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Camp 2020 Writer logo
November 2020 NanoWriMo
50,404 of 50,000 words written about my ancestors.