These books are my current favorites for sharing practical tips and positive encouragement to gain control of the mountain of research material and family resources that genealogists use every day.
I loved Frank Galbreth’s time efficiency antics in the 1950’s classic film Cheaper by the Dozen, but the reality of time management and productivity is a lot more complicated than minimizing time spent on our personal morning routine. These favorites offer ideas for setting research goals, advice for mastering digital clutter, practical solutions for preserving family heirlooms, tips for organizing DNA research, and more. Happy reading!
Organize Your Genealogy Life
Organize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher by Florida genealogist Drew Smith is the Swiss-Army knife guide for gaining control of your genealogy work. Smith draws on his training as a professional librarian and technology instructor to share his favorite tools and tips for becoming a more efficient and productive researcher. Read my Read my full review here. (FamilyTree Books, 2016). Available at ShopFamilyTree and Amazon.
Organize Your Genealogy Research
How to Do Everything with Your Genealogy by George G. Morgan is a classic text (now in its Fourth Edition) for genealogists at all skill levels. Popular author, lecturer, and co-host with Drew Smith of the Genealogy Guys podcast, Morgan’s comprehensive guidebook gives ample resources for evaluating family tree software, planning a research trip, and organizing logs and data. Researchers will find ideas for tackling brick-wall problems as well as tips for creating an ancestor profile, planning a research trip, and moving beyond basic sources. (McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2004). Available at Amazon.
How to Use Evernote for Genealogy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize Your Research and Boost Your Genealogy Productivity by Kerry Scott will help anyone who researches online and wants to save and retrieve information. Scott’s clear instructions highlight dozens of creative ways to use Evernote’s clip-and-save functions for genealogy research, trip planning, and society work. Read my full review here. (FamilyTree Books, 2015). Available at ShopFamilyTree and Amazon.
Organize Your Family Heirlooms and Photos
How to Archive Family Keepsakes and companion volume How to Archive Family Photos by Denise May Levenick, The Family Curator are the two books I needed when I inherited my grandmother’s trunk filled with photos, documents, and memorabilia. Both books share what I learned in my journey of organizing, preserving, and sharing my family history legacy.
How to Archive Family Keepsakes (FamilyTree Books, 2012) is designed as a step-by-step guide with downloadable charts and worksheets to help you sort, organize, and preserve the treasures you’ve inherited or those you want to pass on to the next generation. How to Archive Family Photos (FamilyTree Books, 2015) will help you control digital chaos with practical solutions for file naming, organization, and storage. Available at ShopFamilyTree and Amazon.
Organize Your Family History Writing Project
Guide to Genealogical Writing, How to Write and Publish Your Family History by Penelope L. Stratton and Henry B. Hoff is my desktop companion for preparing manuscripts and research articles. Extensive examples and practical charts help illustrate the clear and direct process outlined by Stratton and Hoff for moving a genealogical research project from research to written article. Anyone interested in writing for professional genealogy publications will find outstanding advice in this text. (New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014). Available at the NEHGS Bookstore and Amazon.
Organize Your DNA Research and Results
The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy by Blaine T. Bettinger is the best-selling handbook available for genealogists who want to learn more about using DNA to solve family history mysteries and extend family trees. Bettinger has a gift for cutting through jargon and science-speak to show how DNA testing can, and should, be used as a genealogical resource. His guide won’t sort and contact your DNA matches, but it will point you to useful third-party tools and explain why organizing DNA matches is essential to success with genetic genealogy. Read my full review here. Available at ShopFamilyTree and Amazon.
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