I have a problem.  I’m a perfectionist.  Sometimes called “Type A” personality. My husband sometimes says I’m OCD.  All I know is that I never feel organized enough.  I don’t have a very good memory and I often repeat research that I’ve already done.  So when I decide to spend money to rent a microfilm or two from the FHL, I feel a tiny bit of panic.  Have I ordered this before?  If so, where are those scans?  Did I look for a specific person? Did I do a quick scan for all of the people in my tree that fit the time period?  Have I found more information on a family since I looked at the film?

When I read how “real” genealogists do their research (I consider myself to be a really serious hobbyist ; ) I read alot about research logs.  Write down the date, the book or film and what you found or didn’t find.  Which sounds like a great idea.  But who in the world can remember WHEN they researched something?  This has never worked for me, so consequently, I don’t have a research log – I have several types of research logs.  Is this the most efficient way of recording my research?  I’m not sure yet, but it’s WAY better than what I did a couple of years ago.

I have a research log for each person I’m researching, which I absolutely love. But I also have a log sheet for individual books.  Title, author, call number, citation, date researched and what I looked for and found.  Now when I grab a book off the library shelf, I can look to see what I’ve already looked for and if I made copies or not.  As of this morning, I also have a log sheet for microfilm.

My book and microfilm logs are designed in Excel to fit in my research planner, so each log fits on a half sheet of paper.  I hole punch them and keep them in my planner.  I’m spending a couple of hours at the library this morning as 4 films that I ordered arrived yesterday, so I’m going to give this a test run and then I’ll post the file tomorrow when I think I’ve “perfected” it.

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