10 August 2009

What the heck do I do with this?

I spend a lot of time researching. I mean, I really enjoy what I do - so I spend probably more time at it than most people. Not bragging of course but because I spend so much time at it, I often encounter things some people don't.

We all have issues with what to do with information that we find that doesn't fit right now. Especially things like marrages. On at least six of the families in my tree I am tracing ALL descendants of that surname - Ligon, Ansley, Hurst, Krugman, Boomershine & Reusch - so alot of times I run across a marriage for a couple, but I have not yet figured out who the couple are. Being in the midst of another chase at the time, its not always convenient to just take off on yet another conquest. I kept running into this over and over again. No matter how hard you try stuffing them in a file in your filing cabinet isn't always the greatest thing to do either. How often do you actually remember to go pull the file and go thru what is there?

Several years ago I decided I had to do something - the file in the cabinet was just totally out of hand. I decided after much mulling it over to put it all on spreadsheets.

Each surname gets its own spreadsheet. The headers across the top are:

Surname, other surname, date of marriage, place of marriage, source & notes

Under the surname its which ever party is the surname of interest is placed there, if both are of the same surname, and that does happen, then I put the groom there and the bride goes under other surname. I give the date of the marriage, if it is just the application date it gets an (A) next to it in the column. Place of marriage is usually County & State. The source column lists the source or where I found the marriage in the first place. Under notes, I have things such as bondsman, consents, who performed the marriage or witnesses.

Its amazing how much I refer to those spreadsheets. I am constantly adding to them, a few of the spreadsheets have close to a thousand entries. But having the spreadsheets has saved me so much time & energy, not to mention space for other good things in my filing cabinet.

I no longer have to wonder what the heck did I do with that marriage record? I know exactly where it is - complete with source info & notes! Sure made things a bit easier for me!

How do you handle the info you find that just doesn't fit right now? I'd love to hear YOUR solutions...

Happy researching!


Gini said...

I love this, it's a great idea and would love to do the same. So all the same surnames go under the same spreadsheet?

TennLady said...

Love it. I still hang on to the copies I've made of marriage record indices only because I want to see the stuff in context with other people I can link to.

Do you enter witnesses too?