I do not always feel willing to share my systems of organization. I am terribly tactile and visual and still find hard copies appealing regardless of all the amazing technology available and the shift to the digital. However I do realize that I can save far more in far less space and far more efficiently digitally. It also has become apparent that portability is essential when travelling to archives and libraries, cemeteries, and well, just anywhere our research takes us! I always carry my phone or ipad to capture information but it has become a hodgepodge of disorganization when not housed together in one organized, efficient system. It is time to learn to properly use Evernote and change over my old fashioned files!
One file I have been keeping in hard copy format–yes on traditional cue cards in a file box quite like recipes–is my Brick Wall Ancestors File. When I encounter a very challenging, impossible brick wall individual–in our direct lines–on my family tree I created a card for them. It included all the basic facts I had gathered on the individual on the front and, on the back, what I still wished to discover, the questions I had regarding the individual, and where I might find this information. Similar to a research plan but in miniature!
I’ve found the file helpful to keep my research grounded and focused and helps me to visualize the present reach of my family tree’s branches! It will be far more useful in a digital, carry-along format and I think Evernote is going to be my go-to location for this file of notes!
I’ve created a notebook for my Brick Wall ancestors and a separate one for my husband’s. I am ordering the notes alphabetically and have indicated the country/countries of research. I added the key information in bullet points then numbered my basic questions and research starting points. If I find additional information in my research I have added it through checklists and attachments until I can verify and add to my tree. Fingers crossed this will be effective and efficient!