09 April 2010

Research Trip - Research Notebooks

In yesterday's post I mentioned that in order to better prepared for my research trip I put together research notebooks.

So today we're going to talk about my research notebooks.

Part of the prep for my trips begin with pre-trip research. What families I am going to work on? Where did they live? What do I know? What vital information am I missing?

So I go into my data base and I determine the answers to those questions. At this point my questions & answers look like this:
  • What families am I going to work on? Gish, Early, Gebhart, Kreitzer, Wenger, Huber
  • Locations? Lancaster & Berks County, Pennsylvania - with a bit of wandering over the county lines at points.
  • What do I know? I actually know quite a bit, but I do have holes that need to be filled in on the direct lines.
  • What vital records am I missing? There are marriage records I need to find & I'd love to get into some baptismal records as well.

Now with that information I go into my data base and gather together the families I want to locate information on. Depending on your software, you should be able to "publish" a book of sorts. My software allows me to put in descendancy charts, time lines, family group sheets and a narrative on the line. You could also add a copy of your to do list if your software allows you to keep one. I make sure to allow it to index it all for me.

I print that all off, supplementing with the pages I printed from both the historical societies I want to go to, and a few maps I found on line. Organizing it all I then get out my handy comb binder and bind it all together, using card stock for the back & front covers. You could use a regular notebook if you wish. The reason I suggest binding it - have you ever dropped a folder of loose papers? 'Nuff said!

By keeping everything neatly bound its nicely organized and everything is at your fingertips. No shuffling through folders. I even toss in a few empty pages so I have places to write as well. I don't use the notebook with the sheet protectors is I hate having to take pages out of the sheet protectors to jot down my notes. And boy can I take notes.

I take weekends off so we'll talk more about the research prep perhaps next week? With this being the final weekend of tax season it will be busy here for sure! I'll try to get some pics taken of the research notebook and get that post up one day next week. Till then I'd love to hear any comments or suggestions on HOW YOU PREP for a research trip!

Happy Researching!



Joan said...

looking forward hearing and seeing more on your traveling research books.

Lisa Swanson Ellam said...

Thank you for this timely post! I just scheduled my research trip for May and I need to get organized. That is not my strong suit so I will be following your directions closely!

PalmsRV said...


I'm a big fan of looking through the deeds. Before posting this, I looked at both Lancaster and Berks counties' Register of Deeds. The good news is that Berks has an online database. I put the info I found in my "In Deeds" blog: http://indeeds.blogspot.com/2010/04/berks-co-pa-deed-indexes-online.html

Wish I found the same for Lancaster where I have research projects, too!

Hope that helps a little.


GrannyPam said...

I am passing on the Ancestor Approved to you. I enjoy every post you make!