Recently Richard wrote in with great questions on using Evernote for family history. “Thank you for ‘reinvigorating’ my interest in my family history,” he says. “I watched [your Legacy Family Tree webinar] on Evernote twice and I am now a Premium user thanks to the video. I’m following many of your suggestions, but have a few questions.”
Here’s our Q & A on using Evernote for family history:
Q: “Creating a set of useful tags assumes that in the future you will want to extract data based upon those tags. Since in many cases you don’t have the data yet, and can’t know what you want to retrieve (kind of a “Back to the Future” scenario), do you have any suggestions on specific tags? Here are a couple I’m thinking of using and I’d appreciate your opinion: Census year — Birth year – Death year – Civil Records – Church Records.”
A: Yes, I provide a list on my Evernote for Genealogists quick reference guide (out of print) that follows along the lines you are already going (focusing on record types). I recommend keeping tag names simple so there is less clutter in the left hand column of Evernote. i.e. Birth, Census, Death, Immigration, etc. I also tend to have location tags such as states and/or counties in anticipation of opportunities to do research in those areas. If I’m going to make a trip to Randolph County, it would be convenient to access all related notes regardless of family or time frame with one click of a tag.
Originally I created notebooks for each major surname in my tree, but I recommend tags now. I reserve notebooks for high level topics and projects—particularly projects I anticipate wanting to work with others on. It’s very convenient to simply share a notebook. There are five Evernote videos that are part of Premium membership that go in to all the details. You’ll find the list here.
Q: “Do you tag individual surnames in your notes? What about generations, i.e., Grandparents — Great-Grandparents — Great-Great-Grandparents, etc.”
A: I have laid out my organizational strategy in the Genealogy Gems Premium Membership videos “Hard Drive Organization” and have since elaborated on how I apply that method to Evernote in several Premium podcast episodes.
Q: “I noted in your video you do not clip most of your family photos. Do you clip full census sheets?
A: Yes. Anything to do with my research!
Q: I use Family Tree Maker, and subscribe to Ancestry.com. Once you have compiled all these notes, what and how do you include them into your tree?”
A: I cover this in Premium episode 96.
As you can see, though I cover a lot of Evernote questions on my free Genealogy Gems website, a lot of his more detailed questions are addressed in members-only Premium content. Learn more about Genealogy Gems Premium membership here: all the great online videos and Premium podcast episodes you’ll be able to access for a full YEAR for less than the price of attending a single day at a genealogy conference!
Just interested in Evernote right now? Check out this post:
How to Get Started in Evernote, and the Ultimate Evernote Education