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Organize Your Genealogy: Strategies and…

Organize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher

by Drew Smith

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I found this to be mostly a beginner level text, when I'd been hoping for an intermediate or advanced level look at how to organize the various aspects of my research. Almost every chapter can be reduced to: here's a thing the author does to keep organized, here's a very basic overview of that, and a standard "your mileage may vary" disclaimer. There's very little discussion of pro/cons of each item, what kinds of researcher/research/etc. will find the methods described useful. The advice often comes down to "try out a bunch of things until you find something that works." Which is something I already knew.

I found the section on organizing files to be particularly lacking. His section on naming files strongly encourages naming files according to the person researched (something like "Name-year-event") which is something that many genealogists do. But I've found that conflicts with something the author wrote in his introduction "it's often easier to adopt good habits when you are starting a relatively new activity than to change the way you've been doing things for years". I originally named files like he recommended, only to find that I had a very difficult time filing (and finding, once filed) documents that pertained to more than one person or more than one event. So I had conventions that things got named after the head of household, or the most important event referenced, etc. And then I had to split things into directories because I had thousands of files, and how to organize the directories became another headache. There is no discussion that you will eventually run into these kinds of issues when you use this system. People can and do make the system work, but I wish I'd had this knowledge before I spent 3 years dropping several thousand files into this system. I wish the author discussed these kinds of drawbacks, or even gave readers the idea that there are other ways to organize files.

I found the chapter on organizing goals to be the most useful personally, though it's still very surface level.

Overall, I think the book is good as an introduction, so long as the reader keeps in mind that what's covered is only introductory. ( )
  KingRat | Feb 2, 2018 |
Well written, and clearly Mr Smith knows his stuff about organising. A career as a librarian shows through with his (sometimes over the top) meticulous detail about every aspect. Even to the extent of telling you what should be in your office space.
Beginners and intermediates will find some really useful tips and a lot of the sections on goal setting, and breaking down areas of research into manageable projects will be invaluable to the novice genealogist. I imagine even experienced researchers may still find some parts of use. Personally I feel this is a real reference book and, as the author tells you himself, isn't suited to be read cover to cover. Look for the section you're interested in and go from there would be my advice.
Very little criticism but there are very strong leanings towards certain products which I don't personally like to see in reference materials. Obviously the author is well entitled to promote any resource that has worked for him, but in one section, nearly the whole chapter is dedicated to showing you how to navigate this one piece of software. And while it is very extensive, it's not the only product out there and you can quickly lose reader's interests that don't have a particular piece of software etc. That being said, he does also make reference to lots of other resources that have proved near invaluable in moving my research along. ( )
  Studlyg | Jan 11, 2017 |
Very basic book on how to organize your genealogy. Intended for the beginner and low intermediate researcher. Although it is well presented, the book goes into excruciating detail on even the simplest and most basic tasks ... like how to label a file folder. Intermediate, and even advanced genealogists may pick up some hints here and there, the book probably is not worth the time it would take to read it. Beginners, on the other hand, who have had no experience in organizing their daily lives, may find the book worthwhile. ( )
1 vote rondoctor | Sep 2, 2016 |
This book covers all type of organizing skills with recommendations of current Adroid and Windows apps that I'm now using to free up time and clutter in my life. ( )
  RodMerrill | Aug 27, 2016 |
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Get Your Research in Order! Stop struggling to manage all your genealogy facts, files, and data--make a plan of attack to maximize your progress. Organize Your Genealogy will show you how to use tried-and-true methods and the latest tech tools and genealogy software to organize your research plan, workspace, and family-history finds. In this book, you'll learn how to organize your time and resources, including how to set goals and objectives, determine workable research questions, sort paper and digital documents, keep track of physical and online correspondence, prepare for a research trip, and follow a skill-building plan. With this comprehensive guide, you'll make the most of your research time and energy and put yourself on a road to genealogy success.Organize Your Genealogy features:Secrets to developing organized habits that will maximize your research time and progress Hints for setting up the right physical and online workspaces Proven, useful systems for organizing paper and electronic documents Tips for managing genealogy projects and goals The best tools for organizing every aspect of your ancestry research Easy-to-use checklists and worksheets to apply the book's strategies Whether you're a newbie seeking best practices to get started or a seasoned researcher looking for new and better ways of getting organized, this guide will help you manage every facet of your ancestry research.… (more)

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