Pam Journey, a genealogy friend of mine, is a whiz at organizing her records. Pam can look up any source citation on her genealogy software, then walk over to her massive collection of three-ring binders and turn straight to the original record. I should be so lucky.
This year, in yet another attempt to organize my genealogy, I’m in the process of digitizing as many records as possible, then maintaining a master file containing the name of the digital image as well as a brief description of the record. For this phase of the game plan, I’m just using my word processing program. (Image of Stillman Creek, Lincoln Co., Kansas – see below)
To help my efforts, I bought a scanner that came with the usual software, as well as an OCR (optical character recognition) package. Scanning with OCR software allows me to scan a text, then go in and actually make revisions or additions. For example, after I’ve scanned a page from a book or article, I can make notes, or digitally yellow highlight the portions of interest.
My second phase of attack is organizing the thousands of digital photos I’ve taken. Among the shots are those of tombstones, my hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri, family treasures, my genealogy travels, and places my ancestors lived.
In addition to simply indexing the photos, I want to caption and date them, as well as add any notes.
For example, when I was in Lincoln County, Kansas, I crossed a river that played a role in a 100-plus-year-old family story. I pulled the car off to the side of the road so I could walk back and take a picture up the river. A highway patrolman stopped behind me, thinking something was wrong with my car.
When I explained what I was doing, he stood in the road and stopped traffic in both directions so I could stand in the middle of the bridge and get the shot. Of course, that story will now become part of the photo—and my own family stories.
If you have more ideas, send them my way!