Monday, November 01, 2004

Charts & Forms - Research Extract

Use the research extract sheets to summarize information which cannot be photocopied, for which there is no document in your possession, or for things such as deeds which may be time-consuming or difficult to reread quickly when you need information from the copy you have.

in other words MAKE A LIST
and do the most important thing first

from Ancestry Daily News


As I look at each record that needs to be filed, I have to ask myself
the following:
--- Have I recorded the complete source citation?
--- Have I recorded it in my research log?
--- Have I entered this record in my family history database?
--- Have I transcribed this record in electronic form, and if so,
where is it?
--- Have I made copies to cross-reference with other family members
referenced in the record?
--- Have I emailed it or sent copies to Mom?
--- Have I added it to the family timeline?
--- Have I analyzed this record to see if it indicates follow-up with
other records?

Depending on what kind of system you use, your list of questions may
vary slightly. For example, if you don't use an electronic database,
you might include, "Have I entered this information into my family
group sheet?" instead.


So how do I answer these questions? With a checklist, of course. I
went into the free charts and forms
and selected the Research Extract.

I've printed out a copy of the form and the fields included in the
heading take care of the source citation right off the bat. A little
personalization takes care of the rest. In the space below the
description of the record and the search information, there are blank
lines. In these, I added fields for:

--- Sent to--with space for the names of people I have shared this
record with.
--- Transcription--with a blank line to fill in the location of that
--- Entered in database--with a blank so I can fill in the date. This
way if I lose my database in a system crash, I can go to my back-up
and by reviewing these records, see what information needs to be re-
--- Timeline--with a box for a check
--- Research log--If the search was entered in my research log (which
also serves as my to-do list), this prompts me to enter a close date
and the results.
--- Cross-reference--I leave a line to add the names of the other
individuals I have cross-referenced the record with.

The original form holds two records on a split page. Since I like to
leave room for notes, after adding my personalized fields, I
photocopy a half sheet, adding more lines at the bottom so that I'd
have more room. (While there are other ways of creating a
personalized form, including starting from scratch, this is quick and
easy, and that's a big plus in my world.) In the remainder of the
lines, I record my observations on the information in the record and
ideas for follow-up.

Once I had the form to my satisfaction, I made a stack of copies and
saved the original so I could make more photocopies when I ran out.
Now the copies are on my desk in an upright "magazine file." (An
example is at ,
but I've seen them cheaper. I have cheapo plastic ones.)

In this magazine bin, I place blank manila folders, a folder filled
with clear plastic sleeves, and of course the form copies in another
folder. Now when I print out a record online, I stash it in a sleeve
and fill out as much as I can of the form before life interrupts. I
use pencil and put the form in the sleeve with the print-out. Now
when I get a few minutes to spend on my research, I just grab one,
look at my form and continue where I left off.

I bought another bin to put the "piles" into, and I have to admit,
most of records I currently have in it so far don't have a whole lot
of information in them. However, I do make sure that if I haven't
printed the index entry or source citation with the document, I fill
in at least that part.

I'm finding it convenient so far and now that the pile isn't so
perplexing, I don't dread this filing chore so much anymore. Hey,
someday I may even find myself without a pile to file. Nah, who am I


Juliana Smith is the editor of the "Ancestry Daily News" and author
of "The Ancestry Family Historian's Address Book." She has written
for "Ancestry" Magazine and "Genealogical Computing."


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