Genealogy Wise

The Genealogy & Family History Social Network

Shannon Bennett, Student

Modules 3 and 4 of Methodology, Part 2 focus on the types of forms to use during your research. I love forms. Seriously, love them. Of course I can be a little OCD about them, but that is another story. Forms, checklists, to-do lists, guides, etc. are a great way to provide road maps to your research. They keep you going forward, not lost in limbo with no direction. Think of them as genealogical compasses.

 Note Book And Compass by nuttakit/ courtesy of

Module 3 covered ways to track your research and module 4 covered ways to organize your research.  Both are important for you and those that follow in your footsteps, they let you have the compass pointed forward and not spinning in confusion. Clearly organized and documented research is a fantastic feeling.

There were two suggested forms that really jumped out to me. They are things that 1) I already do and 2) I think that serious researchers should really do too. Hopefully you will see why by the end of this post.

First is the Daily Journal. I can hear some of you making noises about that one already. Trust me, I am not a journal writer per se but keeping a research journal is very important. This is more a running list of things you do on a daily basis with your research. Who did you call? What did you search? What were you results? Did you get an email and what did it say? Those types of things. The one place that you can keep track of all the hills, plateaus, rivers, and cliffs while using your genealogy compass.

Second, is a Repository Chart of research centers and websites that you use. Having a handy computer file, or binder with this form on the outside and all the brochures on the inside, is a great item to have on your genealogy bookcase. You can see where you have been, get clues for places you need to search, have the information for those repositories at your fingertips, and will not need to worry about forgetting what you can find where or wasting time with fruitless searches.(c) 2014 The National Institute for Genealogical Studies.

While we may get lost on occasion wandering around in the woods, if we use the tools that we uncover along the way our path may become a little straighter and a little less frustrating. The compass can only lead us when we know which way we want to go. Try a journal or a repository chart. I bet you will find them as useful as I do!


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