TSGS Cruiser Blog

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Research Tips

Research Inventory
by Terry Winchester

Have you ever found yourself scouring through records online, such as at http://www.ancestry.com/ or at the Family History Library Catalog at http://www.familysearch.org/, and come across records that sound familiar, but you can’t decide on whether or not you’ve already searched some of those records? Or, perhaps you’ve been in the process of looking through material, and discover only after a good amount of time spent, that you’ve already searched that particular source? We always want to avoid the duplication of research by others, but how often do we duplicate our own research? I know I’ve looked at the same records several times, only to discover that I had already searched them, and only after some serious time spent on the record, something shows up that reminds me that I’ve already been there.

Information on the internet is being updated on a daily basis, and somehow, we’ve got to remember where we’ve been and what we’ve done in order to avoid wasting time. And it’s not confined to the internet, either. Our own TSGS is constantly buying new books and material, and in order to save time and, frustration, it helps to know what you’ve already looked at in the enormous amount of material at Willard Library.

Well, I found a solution that, at least, works for me. I call it my Research Inventory Sheet. For each county that I’m interested in, I create a form, and make an entry for each record relating to that county, that I’ve searched, be it in book or microfilm form. Here’s how I do it. In Microsoft Excel, I create my own form, with column headers, as follows: Title, Author, Publisher/Location, Result. I think the headers are pretty well self explanatory, but I’ll explain a bit. TITLE is obvious. Under PUBLISHER/LOCATION, I’ll list everything about who published the material, and where and when I found it. If it’s a book that I found at the Library, I’ll include the Call#. Under RESULT, I simply list, in summary, what was found, and any notes that I may need to find the entire contents of the record which I have filed in my own filing system. Of course, at the top of the page, I allow for an entry as to County of Research and Surname(s).
- Written & submitted by Terry Winchester.


Anonymous said...

Good article. I would like to see more articles of this type on this blog.

Terry Winchester said...

Thank you. I'll see what I can do.

Maybe we could get one of our seasoned Genealogists to write some ideas on Brick Wall research.

There's alot online already, but nothing much along the ideas of what to do when one has exhausted all of one's local resources.

Claudette (Ricketts) Pfingston said...

Great information.