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.