It’s critical to label and document genealogy research as you go. In my book Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes, I covered why you should record what you do and do not find, and the importance of creating a source citation before you move on. After that, if you are dealing with paper, you will need to label the papers as well. There are several ways you can label your discoveries.
- If you have a photocopy of a document, write the source citation on the back of each and every page you print out. This way if you lose one page, you still know where the information came from and can (hopefully) get another copy of the missing item.
- Spreadsheets come in really handy when you take a digital image away from home. Log any relevant information on paper or a mobile device while you are researching. When you get home, add the information to the spreadsheet of images. If you are particularly computer-savvy, you can even put the citation in the metadata for a particular image you are saving.
- If you are at home downloading information from the Web, make sure to create a source citation in your research log before you move onto the next clue—and link it to the page you saved. If you can save the page as a PDF, attach a note to it containing the citation.
Using spreadsheets to document genealogy research
Spreadsheets may seem daunting at first, but they are powerful tools that you can use to manage data and document genealogy research. Check out Excel Basics In 30 Minutes and Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes to quickly learn how to use the two programs. Once you start, you will quickly find yourself making spreadsheets for everything.