Have you ever noticed that when you have a TON of potential information – or when you are trying to distinguish between many men with the same name, as you are looking through the information, you almost ALWAYS wish you’d taken better notes? You see something and you think “haven’t I seen someone else living on this creek?” or “why is that name so familiar?” Frustrating!

So I’ve been looking through land grants for John Smith (of course). And as everyone knows, there is a John Smith under every rock in every county ever created. Or at least it seems that way. I’m also looking for the land grants for the names that are showing up on tax lists under the “Entered”, “Surveyed” and “Patented” columns. I plan to follow the chain of possession on the land in order to look for connections in FANs to try to distinguish “my” John Smith from the others.

So I created a form using Word to help me jot down things as I’m looking through these grants. I wanted a form where I could jot down the basic information and then know exactly where to look if I need to go back. Additional information can be added to the form if I decide to follow up later. If I think it’s worthy of researching further, I’ll fill in the information using Word and file it in the appropriate online folder.

I wanted a form that would be easy to organize into groups or rearrange into chronological order. So my form is a half sheet that helps me remember what types of information to look for. If I think it would be helpful, I have an area to add a digital image to – intended for the drawings of the survey map often included on the survey document. I can take additional notes on the back if I find additional deeds or other documents to tie people together.

Form 1

Form 2

I plan to print out a supply of these forms to have nearby as I go through the grants. Feel free to download the form here if you think it would be helpful in your research.

p.s. Thanks to those of you who have been emailing me about my broken finger! I no longer have to wear the hand brace (just two fingers taped together), which means that typing is now possible, although slower than regular. But I’m happy to be back at my keyboard again!

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