As an organizationally-challenged individual, I have to take extra steps to keep my research in order. In one section of my desk I keep extra supplies so that they are within easy reach. These include:
- Protective archival plastic sleeves so that when I obtain or print out a record, I can easily slip it into a sleeve right away and insert it in the three-ring binder I have for that family. (No more loose pages just stuffed in that binder.)
- Post-It notes so that I can jot a quick note to myself that lets me know where I left off when every-day life interrupts my research time.
- Post-It flags that allow me to bookmark pages and paragraphs in books or documents that are important to my research.
- Blank census forms for transcribing the census enumerations I find for family members. Transcribing helps me to better look at each clue in the record and also reminds me to date the find.
- Research Log/To-Do List. I use my to-do list as a research log. When I identify a record that needs to be searched or requested, I enter it into a research calendar. Later when I actually process the request, I can go back and fill in the date and results. This not only helps me to easily get started when I find a few minutes to do some research, but it also serves as a record of the sources Iâ€™ve checked. Ancestry has blank research calendars online that can serve this purpose and I keep a stack readily available. You can find links to many blank charts and forms in the Ancestry Learning Center Getting Started section.
What supplies do you like to keep handy to keep your research rolling and to keep clutter at bay? Share your tips in the Comments section below.