Today’s genealogy searches are more successful than ever, thanks to a wide variety of online databases, records, and accessible professional genealogists. Whether you’re just getting started or you have a pile of family records that go back generations, how you organize your files is essential. A good organization system makes it easy to revisit your research, source your explorations, and share data with interested family members. While genealogists often talk about the technology used to find new records, let’s discuss some helpful websites and software programs that can help keep your information safe and organized. |
If you currently maintain an online version of your genealogy research in the form of a family tree, it’s important to back up those files. Often, the files are generated in the universal GEDCOM format. The software supports this, as well as a wide variety of other family formats such as PAF, Legacy Family Tree, Family Tree Builder, Ancestral Quest, and GenoPro. It can be set up to automatically monitor your tree for changes, and allows you to download a backup of your file anywhere you have an internet connection. Currently, this service is free with promises of a more detailed paid option forthcoming.
Evernote is an application that allows you to save files, notes, images, and more to a database. Each file that you save can easily be tagged with keywords, sticky notes, and even audio files for quick organization. One of the benefits of this product is that it works on Macs and PCs, as well as across a wide range of mobile devices. Similar software options include Springpad, Simplenote, OneNote, and NoteSync.
Diigo is a reading tool that allows users to save documents and annotate them. There’s even a collaborative feature that allows you to share notes with selected users. The result is an easy to use document storage solution that lets you keep detailed sourcing notes on documents; you can also use this as a handy reference point for works in progress. Researchers also like apps and sites like Delicious, XMarks and Scrapbooks for similar purposes.
Mocavo and Live Roots
This year, a number of new tools have hit the market that make it easier to search multiple databases for genealogical records. While these are not strictly organizational, both Mocavo and Live Roots have several features that are worth noting. The most important feature is the ability to search thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of sources simultaneously. Each search engine also allows users to save details of their searches, for later reference and review. The stored search functionality can help eliminate duplicate searches and provide a helpful launching point for further lines of inquiry.
If you’ve been in the process of collecting family pictures, it’s important to have them saved in a secure location. But researchers also often want the ability to selectively share photos, organize them by theme or surname, and more. Pinterest, the social networking platform, is an easy and free way to manage your digital photographs. Organizing your genealogical research is an essential part of family history research.Today’s technology tools – many of them free or available for a minimal fee – can vastly streamline the process. If you’re overwhelmed with the process of organizing your research, consider arranging a consultation with a professional genealogist today.
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