The Genealogy Do-Over is into its second week, but I am still doing part of the first week preparation tasks. I am setting aside the database I have lived with for years to start building it again, but as I’ve said previously, I’m not ditching the hundreds of sources I have accumulated, as many are going to be relevant. I’m prepared to look at each with fresh eyes and to create proper citations, but if they are legitimate sources, I see no reason to throw them away, particularly if they are certificates I have paid for. But that means I have to have a reasonable idea of what they are and where they are.
For the individual digital files, that was pretty easy. I had a Genealogy Inbox folder that needed attention, but I already had folders named for surnames and places, so anything from the Inbox that related to specific family names or locations was quickly filed. I didn’t undertake to rename files at this stage. Then I tackled my Evernote files.
I am a huge fan of Evernote and have been using it for everything, both personal and business, for years. I am approaching 10,000 notes in Evernote, within a finely tuned set of Notebooks, and making heavy use of tags. However, here too I had the “inbox” problem. A while ago, I had one notebook for genealogy and used tags for each surname and for places. I found this didn’t give me the flexibility I wanted, so I switched to using a notebook for each name within a stack called Genealogy. I could still use tags for notes that related to more than one surname, or for categories such as birth, death, etc. I spent some time reorganizing then, but left over 1000 notes in a genealogy Inbox notebook, truly a miscellaneous pile.
As I went through this one, I started to add to one of the tools I am determined to use in this do-over effort, a research toolbox. Thanks again to Thomas MacEntee, I didn’t have to start this from scratch. Many of the notes I am processing are links to items that fit nicely into the toolbox, such as courses, location records, maps, and so on. Once they’re in the toolbox, I delete them from Evernote. For my genealogy notes, I use Evernote as just a holding area, until I can process them and relocate them in their permanent home.