Thursday, February 23, 2012

Formats I use for my genealogy data

Following in response to post by Marian Pierre-Louise:

As the family historian, for a far-flung low-tech family, Ancestry fit our needs for software program: other family members can get free ids - and without downloading software - view annotated tree I created, with documents and photos linked to each individual. And I like Ancestry tools for research, creating, & sharing. Personally, I love Legacy, but as no one in my family will download even free software, I'm the only one who'd use, at least till the next generation gets into genealogy.

Last year I also started this blog to share same info in a different format, a table format that older relatives follow better, including when & how I made each discovery, and analysis included.

As a strong visual, early on, for data analysis, I developed a spreadsheet (combo research plan / log, & annotated data transcriptions on different tabs) and a word document (combo timeline / location list with maps), that both work well for me, and also get raves from my clients.

For my personal research on the road, I kept paper copies in manila folders - less bulky to pack and tote than notebooks - but now that i have an iPad that's handier than laptop, I can reference there faster than paper folders.

In preparation for my 1st visit to Family History Library while at RootsTech, I spent January reviewing all my data: found very little to update - and already had a tab of all family NY BMD annotated with which available at FHL including film number, that served as my work plan on site - but while reviewing I did notice something in transcriptions tab for an immigrant ancestor, that helped me locate an elusive ship arrival record - which includes name of an unknown cousin, whose family I'm now researching, back in relation to my ancestor, & forward for possible unknown living cousins!


  1. Nancy,

    It sounds like you have a great system. I think it's all about access. If you can put your fingers on the documents you are looking for quickly then your system works. Mine still has flaws but the notebooks work for me on specific tasks like brick walls.

    I would love to see some demonstrations on using the ipad for genealogy. Not being an ipad user myself I am kind of mystified as to how it can be so quick and useful. I'll have to find some local ipad genealogists who can show me.

    Great post!


    1. Have you used google hangout yet? - I haven't, but am interested in trying... And if works, be glad to demo what I like about iPad for genealogy. I fly home Saturday from visiting family in NC, so could do any time Monday on.

      Definitely all about what works for you - I started organizing papers in a loose leaf binder, but then had to remove papers when no room for notebook in my carry-ons!