Taming the Genealogy Information Beast

Taming the Genealogy Information Beast

I am swimming in a sea of information. I struggle not with too little information – but too much! Besides the many books, magazines, scholarly journals, CDs, an conference syllabi I have acquired over the years, there is also the vast online sources from blog-posts to webinars to ebooks… I was as John Naisbitt put it “drowning in a sea of information and starving for knowledge.”
When I wanted a resource for a project, I remembered reading a particularly helpful article…but WHERE?! Was it in a magazine, a book or online? I couldn’t remember! Time to tame the information beast!
I decided to use OneNote mainly because I like the visual flexibility and I since I wanted to be able to post pictures I did not use Excel – but Evernote or SpringPad could work just as well. I created a “Genealogy” notebook in OneNote and added tabs for each subject. On the tabbed page I can add weblinks to a blogpost or other online page, outline a handout that is in a conference syllabus, remind myself of a chapter in a particular book I own, make a link to a video presentation from FamilySearch.org or even remind myself of a file in a document on my computer. Another plus with using OneNote is I can access it remotely if I need to, as well as make it available to share with others.

 My OneNote screen shot

Since the purpose is to only help me remember and find the sources when I need them, I don’t feel compelled to record everything – just enough info to direct me to the information that I am looking for. Giving myself permission to keep it short is key, all the source citation is found on the source and do not need to record it here – I just need to find the source information and I record the source citation later if I need to then.
Other time saving help that I just love is the “Print Friendly” app that I have on my Firefox browser. It allows me to print the screen, edit out the advertisements or info that I don’t wish to save. I can then print or save as a PDF. Love it!
No more drowning in an endless sea of intel and data. Create an online notebook or find a system that will help you remember what you have so you can use it when you need it. Why starve for knowledge when you have the banquet set before you? Love to hear what works for you!


  1. Thank you for this article. It caught my eye because I drown in all the info too; from my Google Reader, news apps on my phone, blogs, facebook links, daily papers (paper.li), etc. I try to use Evernote AND Springpad, but just can’t get the hang of them yet. But I’m prompted now to spend more time getting used to them and using them to categorize and make order out of the things I want to later refer to. Thanks again, Valerie.

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