Keep your Research Log on the Internet

We all have heard various instructors and lecturers tell us that we should keep a log of our genealogical research pursuits. When I started to get serious about genealogy I knew that this monster was going to be hard to reign in unless I started a “system.”

I had begun to accumulate reams and reams of single sheets of paper that could then be filed in folders and filing cabinets. That grew to about six four drawer office filing cabinets. Then I came up with the idea that I should only collect my daily notes, information on libraries and resources visited and used, and all family information, census extractions, lists of Things to Do, etc., in spiral bound notebooks. This automatically created a time line or log of my research advances, because the spiral pages did not get out of order or misfiled, and I could easily remember that about a year ago I worked on that, and then go back to that particular dated notebook and revisit the project that I had been working on.

Well my system seemed pretty good at the time about 30 years ago as I would go through each notebook and create a crude one word or so index to the pages, (which I had numbered,) for each. There are literally hundreds of these spiral notebooks that chronicle my quest, some of which are very helpful and some make me smile when I look at how much time I spent on “former ancestors.”

The fact is, I now have absolutely no idea where all of them are. We have moved several times in the past twenty years, and my original source notes are scattered hither and yon.

So here is an idea. Why not keep your research log on the Internet? It can not get misplaced, will be extremely easy to locate, instantly search able and will become a very important part of your research goals. Anyone can get a free blog website from many different places. I have been using Blogger, also known as BlogSpot through Google for some time now. I intend to move it all over to the domain that I own at eventually, but for now it can be linked to from the Upstate New York Genealogy website.

Blogging is very easy. There are templates that you fill in a little information on and then just start typing. You will usually have the ability to make it public if you wish, or just keep it private for yourself, or some sites have the ability to share it with other select family members.

Just recently I re instituted the ability to allow comments on my Blog posts. I had previously allowed this with no supervision and it was a horror story. My Blogs were getting all clobbered with SPAM and porn messages and links that would curdle your milk. So I took all comments off for a couple of years. Recently I looked at Blogger’s procedures to allow comments and found out that I could monitor all submitted comments and then approve them as written or reject them. That works just great!

So the idea for all of the above I must credit with reading one of our submitters comments. I had written about maps at Ancestry and received a comment from someone named Taneya with a tinyurl link address. I actually put off visiting the link until I got on a public access computer, just in case some of my old nemesis were spamming again.

Well boy was I surprised! This link was to a Blog written by an excellent researcher that literally documents her research activities just about exactly as I have described above, and I want to thank Taneya immensely for providing the link.

If you follow her example, (she has allowed the public to view it all,) then you will have a log of all of your activities as you travel along your road to genealogical success.

Dick Hillenbrand

Upstate New York Genealogy

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