[Editor’s Note: Organize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher is available in print as well as in e-book format and right now you can get it at a 27% savings, for only $18.99. PLUS if you use promo code SFTTHOMAS16 at checkout, you’ll save an additional 15%!]
Smith, Drew. Organize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher, Cincinnati: F+W Media, Inc., 2016, 239 pages.
I thought I was pretty well-organized when it came to my own genealogy and family history research: I have a research toolbox online, I use a genealogy research log, etc. But in his new book Organize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher, author Drew Smith opened my eyes to new areas that require focus and action when it comes to getting stuff “in order.”
A Well-Organized Book on Organizing
Full disclosure: I know Drew Smith personally and not only is he a good author, but a great guy and someone you definitely want to know in the genealogy world. My first look at the table of contents for Organize Your Genealogy told me right away that Drew is “walking the walk” when it comes to getting organized!
The author has chapters that include Organizing Your Space, Organizing Your Goals, Organizing Your Files and even Organizing Your Learning and Organizing Your Volunteering. Drew understands that the more organized you are, the more time you save and that time can be spent on finding those elusive ancestors.
A Book that Respects Different Work Habits
I’ve always said that one method of organization that works for me may not work for another person. It is much like being on a diet to lose weight: if it is a challenge and works counter to your lifestyle, then you won’t stick to it.
In Organize Your Genealogy, for each area of focus on getting organized, Drew honors that some of us are techies who prefer apps and spreadsheets, while others prefer paper and color coded filing systems. Every type of genealogist can find some new ways to get organized since the author has covered almost every possible area.
Example: I never thought about the importance of keeping my emails and other communications organized. In the Organizing Your Communication chapter, Drew covers labels and tags, archiving, creating automatic signatures and more.
One of the best features of this book is access to a variety of worksheet templates to download including Ancestral Village Worksheet, Five Generation Ancestor Chart, Family Group Sheet and a Genealogy Conference Day Planner. There’s no need to “recreate the wheel” and you can get started organizing your genealogy right away with these tools.
Organize Your Genealogy features:
- Secrets to developing the organized habits that will maximize your research time and progress
- Hints for setting up the right physical and online workspaces
- Proven, useful systems for organizing paper and electronic documents
- Tips for managing genealogy projects and goals
- The best tools for organizing every aspect of your ancestry research
- Checklists and worksheets you can use to easily apply the book’s strategies
A Sneak Peak . . .
Here are some tips you will find in Organize Your Genealogy[i]:
- Organize yourself first. Genealogy is a mental game, but you need to pay attention to both your mental and physical needs to be productive. Keep yourself hydrated and well fed, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep. And once you’ve done that, note at which time of the day you’re most productive and start building your genealogy routine around it to set yourself up for success.
- Keep the most important items close. When organizing your physical and digital workspaces, make sure you’re positioning frequently used items (such as important atlases or a particular ancestor’s file) close to you. This will help you cut through the clutter to find the items or files you really need during research.
- Turn your research into a gift. Need more motivation? Create birthday, wedding or anniversary gifts from your hard-earned research (such as photo albums or decorative family trees). In addition to giving yourself purpose and a concrete deadline, making a gift will also show your appreciation for family and friends and maybe even get them hooked on genealogy.
- Make specific goals. It’s hard to get somewhere if you don’t know where you’re going. Before you dive into research, make a list of specific things you hope to accomplish and brainstorm some ways you can do so.
Here is the book trailer for Organize Your Genealogy[ii]:
You can never be too rich or too thin. Or too organized. Organization skills are the new timesaver in genealogy. A well-organized genealogist knows where he or she “left off” on the last round of research and can achieve amazing results in finding ancestors. Organize Your Genealogy has everything you need to get started – you just need to take the first step!
About The Author: Drew Smith
Drew Smith is a librarian at the University of South Florida in Tampa and has an extensive career in education, information technology and genealogy. He has written numerous articles for national genealogy magazines, especially on using technology for genealogical research. He is the co-host of The Genealogy Guys Podcast, named one of the best genealogy blogs or websites four times by Family Tree Magazine. Drew is the co-author of Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques (McGraw-Hill, 2013) and author of Social Networking for Genealogists (Genealogical Publishing Company, 2009). He lives near Tampa, Florida, with his husband, George, and a number of cats.
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©2016, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.
[i] Organize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher product description, Shop Family Tree (http://www.shopfamilytree.com/organize-your-genealogy, accessed 10 June 2016), used by permission of F&W Media.