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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Methodology - Part 1: Getting Started, Methodology - Part 2: Organizing and Skillbuilding, Methodology - Part 3: More Strategies, Methodology - Part 4: Effective Searching and Recording, Methodology - Part 5: How To Prove It, and Methodology - Part 6: Professional Preparation and Practice  by Louise St Denis, Brenda Dougall Merriman and Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Forms to Organize Your Information

There is a large variety of forms you can use to manage your genealogical project. You will also notice that many forms are available from genealogical societies and the FamilySearch Centers and online. Choose forms you feel comfortable with or develop your own forms.

Accuracy is the most important factor when completing these forms. The information you will ultimately use to complete a family book or a family video will have come first from many resource materials you will have researched. Then you will have properly recorded the information in your binders.

Keep in mind that the information you found in various resource materials all came from somewhere else. The more times something is transcribed, the more chance errors will occur.

Remember also that future generations may use your information some day. You must ensure that your information is accurate so that errors are not passed down to future generations.

Many people have indicated to me over the years that all their information is stored in a computer, meaning a software program. This is a very good method of organizing your data. You will be able to do a variety of reports to give you all sorts of information. Computer software will give you the ability to print out pedigree charts and family group records. And you can also include photos if you wish.

A wide variety of software is available. Genealogical software has become so popular and so numerous that changes occur daily. Prior to buying any software program, we would recommend that you talk to your fellow genealogists, also talk to the local genealogical society. Computer software has become such a topic of conversation that many societies hold lectures or workshops on this subject.

Unfortunately, unless you have a laptop or portable computer, you will not be able to bring your computer with you when you are doing your research. Therefore, the necessity for a series of forms and binders to take with you still exists.

When you arrive home, you would simply transfer this information to your computer. When you have completed the task of transferring your written information, simply highlight the information in your binder to give you the visual indication that this piece of information has been added to your computer database. Don’t remove the information from your active binders. Often, as you are researching, you will want to verify something you found previously.


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Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online courses Methodology - Part 1: Getting Started, Methodology - Part 2: Organizing and Skillbuilding, Methodology - Part 3: More Strategies, Methodology - Part 4: Effective Searching and Recording, Methodology - Part 5: How To Prove It, and Methodology - Part 6: Professional Preparation and Practice offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about these courses or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.

  • This page was last modified on 15 May 2014, at 15:27.
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