[Editor's Note: Here is a guest blog post from Annabelle a freelance writer who recently became interested in family genealogy. Her interest in genealogy technology and organizing her research from sites like CensusRecords.com (try the free 1940 census), FindMyPast and others inspired this article.]
Genealogy research can be complex in that it requires examining, storing and editing various types of data. Often this information gets strewn about in many areas. In order to increase productivity, trying a few information storing programs is worth considering to help keep things in order.
Wunderlist is a cloud-based task and project management tool for creating lists that may be archived and shared with other users. It is transferable across many devices. Most people use phones, tablets and computers throughout the day. Using multiple sources and forms of data can be easy as they are all in the same place, thereby saving time and frustration.
The program imports contacts from your address book and Facebook, and any information that needs to be shared can be edited by others in a collaborative fashion. An added benefit is that the information can be protected with Amazon Web Services. SSL encryption over HTTPS keeps information protected while it’s being transmitted. Data stored in Wunderlist can easily be printed for posting or distributing hard copies.
Ancestral research involves collecting scores of data that may end up on your PC, your mobile phone or your desk. With this app users can keep task organized and keep a check list of things they need to complete.
Evernote is a note-taking and archiving program that stores text, web pages, photographs, voice recordings and handwritten notes. With Internet access, users can sync the stored data to their account on Evernote’s server. In this way, users may access and edit data from various machines. This also allows for backing up data in case of emergencies. Files may also be shared with and viewed by other users.
When performing genealogical research, the versatile features of Evernote allow it to perform the duties of multiple programs all in one convenient place. It offers a web clipping feature that allows the user to capture whole text from a page. If a website disappears, the information is still accessible. Without such a tool, researchers would often need to print out webpages in order to keep a record; with Evernote a clip or screenshot captures the data and stores it with other genealogy files.
Even more impressive, the snapshot features allows photos of documents to be captured and stored. With OCR technology, these photos can be searched and retrieved based on keywords found in the text. This is much more convenient than having to photocopy a document and store it for safekeeping.
LastPass is a program designed to eliminate the need for multiple passwords across many user accounts. Genealogy research involves regularly visiting certain sites, thus it may require the use of accounts for each source. With LastPass only the master password is needed. The program also saves times by featuring a form filler that automatically enters passwords and personal information when necessary.
The data kept in LastPass is synchronized across multiple web browsers and devices. Additionally, the personal data a genealogist acquires may be highly sensitive and thus it is vulnerable to attacks. LastPass encrypts this sensitive data, protecting it from hackers.
Luckily, the program isn’t just limited to passwords. Any text data that must be kept secret, such as your own family records, can be securely stored in your LastPass vault. Genealogy research tends to involve many documents being examined at once. With this program, files from other programs can be imported to be stored alongside the files already in the program. Files can also be exported to outside storage programs.
It is hard enough for a genealogist being surrounded by mounds of records, film or images. Whatever tools are available to simplify the process should be utilized immediately.
These are only a couple of helpful resources that you can use while searching for your long lost ancestors. Remember to keep things organized the best way possible which can to make things easier on you and for other researchers with whom you are working.