I’m taking a bit of a turn this week. I feel really good about the “regular” genealogy forms that I’ve created for my Genealogy Planner but this week, I’ve created something specifically to help my current research. I don’t know if other researchers will find this as helpful, but I’m posting it anyway.
I’ve been working with a recently discovered cousin to find out all of the information we can on the various Stephens families in Russell County, Kentucky. There is alot of information on the web about the Russell County Stephens, but very little of it contains sources, so we are collecting sources for everything that we can and using any other information as “hints” to help in our research. Bottom line – no source means not confirmed. We’ve collected tons of census records and we’re working on the vital records, but this family line goes back before census records included information forindividual family members. So I’ve started looking at and analyzing tax records. I’ve been working backward with the goal of determining when our Stephens family came to the Russell County area. We know they were in the area before Russell County was formed, so I’m also looking at Adair County – the parent for most of Russell County.
What I’ve discovered is that there are several Stephens families and they all seem to LOVE the name William! In order to keep them separeated, I need to track them based on the information on the land that they were being taxed on. Because I’m such a visual person, I’ve created slips that let me keep track of the year, the watercourse, number of acres and the names that the land was entered, surveyed and patented in. I also have a box to help me group the names into families. This should help me to be sure that I’m looking at the correct names as I work my way backward. The Kentucky Secretary of State has an excellent web page on reading these early Kentucky tax records. I learned a lot about these numbers that I’ve been giving myself a headache reading!
These pages will be kept in my planner, but not hole punched as I don’t plan to keep them in the planner for long. Whenever I have a few free minutes, I’ll open the files that I keep on my flashdrive and fill out slips for the Stephens listings that I see. Each page has 8 slips. My plan is to cut apart the slips so that I can organize them into family groups through the years on my kitchen table and to make sure that each William stays with the correct family group.
The slips are meant to be filled out by hand as I look through the tax pages that I have scanned at my library, although the information could be typed in if I thought that would be helpful. As I complete a sheet, I’ll cut the slips apart so that they can be arranged. After I feel confident that I know which Stephens men belong in my line, I’ll start looking for the deeds that go with each parcel of land.
Nothing fancy this week! No border or anything, just a page to print out and copy, if you’d like.
Good luck in your research!
Tax Record Slips
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Posted in Organization, Working It Wednesday on January 27, 2010 |
As my planner fills with more group sheets, I occasionally need a 4 gen chart to help me visualize who belongs to who. I don’t need a ton of these, so I put a group sheet on half of the page and the 4 gen chart on the other half. I don’t think any instructions are needed except to say that if you highlight the person title (“father”, “grandmother”, etc.) then you can type in the name to take it’s place. Put your curser after the b. m. or d. and type in the desired date and/or location. The arrangement is a little different to make 4 generations fit for both a husband and a wife, but I think it’s easy enough to fill out.
Blank Group Sheet with 4 Gen Chart
Blank Group Sheet with 4 Gen Chart with Ivy
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Posted in Organization, Working It Wednesday on January 20, 2010 |
My Genealogy Planner is growing as I think of information I’d like to have quickly at hand as I work in 10-15 minute chunks on my genealogy. The goal of the planner is to have a QUICK method of keeping track of genealogy tasks I can complete in unexpected short blocks of time during my day. So far, I’ve created pages for group sheets and a double timeline. I’ve also converted my family notes to pages that fit in my planner, but that doesn’t take a template, it just means reducing the font, changing the margins and pasting in my ivy border. I use my calander pages to jot down questions and quick projects so that I can open my planner during lunch or other free times and immediately have something to work on. As I continue working with my planner to do research for my Stephens line, I’m seeing what types of things would be helpful and what types of things would just be filler.
I wanted to have pages in my planner that would allow me to make lists. My original thought was to have a place to keep track of what census records I had found for each family. But then I started thinking of all the other things I make lists of. I make to do lists, lists of available resources at the library, lists of microfilm I want to order from FHL, lists of questions that pop into my mind while researching, significant historical events in a location, etc. So even though this says “Census Tracker” at the top, I could change that title to be anything I’d like.
Remember, these sheets are meant to be cut in half so that I can put them into my planner. Once again, I have a template called “Instructions” to show you where the text boxes are and to give a bit of information on set up. Then I have templates for the front and back (margins have to be different if I want to print front and back) with ivy and without ivy.
I hope these are helpful!
Census Tracker Instructions
Census Tracker Front with ivy
Census Tracker Back with ivy
Census Tracker Front no ivy
Census Tracker Back no ivy
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Continuing to tweak my genealogy research planner, here’s my form for this week. Remember, my planner fits pages that are 8 ½ x 5 ½, so that what these pages were designed to fit.
Sometimes I find it helpful to compare the timelines of 2 different people or a person and historic events in the area. I’ve also used this to make a timeline on the left with comments, details or questions on the right half. Having the timeline next to a copy of my notes helps me to zero in to make sure that the records I’m looking at fit in the correct time frame.
This full sheet is meant to be cut in half in order to fit in my planner. Because you can’t change the margins half way through a document, there is a separate template for the back side if you’d like to print front and back or if you’d prefer to have a 1 sided page with the holes on the right. Once again, there’s a page with explanations and details for the front and back, a front and back plain version and a front and back with ivy. You can see the text boxes for typing in in the explanation pages, but not in the others (but they are there). I hope you find them helpful!
Timeline fill in the blank front explanation
Timeline fill in the blank back explanation
Blank Timeline Front with ivy
Blank Timeline Back with ivy
Blank Timeline Front no ivy
Blank Timeline Back no ivy
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Posted in Organization, Working It Wednesday on January 6, 2010 |
I’ve spent 2 days testing my “genealogy planner” at school and home and so far, it is working great. It is great to be able to open the planner and see a list of quick tasks that I can work on or to jot down a question that pops into my mind so I can research it later. It doesn’t clutter my desk and it’s easy to carry with me wherever I go. I even used it last night in the car while waiting for my husband to make a quick run into a store.
I’ve been working on several forms to include in my planner which I will be placing in the address section of the planner so that I can use the alphabetical dividers to organize these forms by surname or location. In the next couple of weeks, I plan to take pictures of the different sections of my planner to give you a better idea of how it is working for me.
My planner is a Franklin-Covey classic sized planner, so I need forms that will fit on a 8 ½ x 5 ½ sheet – or to have 2 forms on one regular sheet of paper that can be cut in half. I’ve decided to use regular paper in my printer, so I have two forms per sheet. I had to print the forms onto “portrait” oriented paper which caused me to have to rearrange my group sheet a little. I was excited to see that the rearrangement actually allowed me to add spaces for 2 more children than my other form did! The tables allow me to click in any box to add my information. It is a Word file, which means I can add endnotes which I can then print on the back side of the paper as long as they don’t take up more than half a sheet of paper. To make them fit, I had to highlight the endnotes and reduce them to a font size 6. (Which led me to puchase a bookmark that is also a magnifier for $1.99 at Office Depot so that I can tell the difference between a 6 and an 8!) I was also thrilled to discover that if I highlight and copy information with endnotes from my regular sized group sheets, when I paste then into the boxes of my smaller group sheet, it copies the end notes as well! If I decide not to use endnotes with these smaller forms, then I could print the forms on the front and the back and still cut them in half – giving me 4 group sheets from 1 sheet of paper.
I’m placing 3 files on here. One is a copy of the form, but I’ve added explanations about the form in red in the boxes. The 2nd is the form on plain paper. The 3rd is the same as the 2nd, but I added an ivy border where the hole punches will go just to make the pages a little more attractive in my planner.
Let me say that I am not an expert in using Word, so I’m hoping that the downloaded files will look the same on your computer as they do on mine! I suggest that you download the instructions as well as the desired form as that may give you some help if the form doesn’t work properly for you. I’d love to hear your feed-back!
Double Group Sheet explanations
Double Group Sheet no ivy
Double Group Sheet color ivy
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