Some key benefits of using a genealogy research journal:
1) Saves time with your research,
2) Records positive and negative results,
3) Provides Sources
While using a "Research Journal" you should record every record searched, listing the positive and negative results.
Recording negative results are very beneficial as you are able to identify records where your family ancestors are not found. This will help to save time with your research as you discover the records you do not need to research.
Positive results provide an easy method to document your findings with your research journal. Having recorded your findings you are able to copy and paste your sources into your family tree.
Your research journal may include some of the following column headings:
3) Source Citation,
5) Name Variations Checked,
It is a good thing to record the date searched as old records get updated and new results could be found with previously searched records.
Repository shows where the record was found such as Ancestry.com, Rootsweb or other online resources; books, microfilm or other offline resources.
The source citation should show information about the records you have been researching.
I like to combine record search and the objective of the search into a description field. This gives it more flexibility for me with the research journal.
Names searched. When doing genealogy often times the name of your ancestor will be spelled wrong. Listing what variations of the name of your ancestor helps with your ability to search and find results for your ancestor. You should also list wild cards used.
Record methods used in your searches. For example, I could search for first name or last name only and for results in a particular city, county, state or other locations.
Results should be recorded for each record searched. Making it easy for you to identify which records that will bring you results for the family you are researching. This will enable you to establish research goals as to the next set of records to be searched.
Another benefit that comes from recording your findings is that sometimes you will get stuck. You may want to move on to other ancestors and then come back to this ancestor later.
A research journal will help you to pick up where you last left off in your genealogy research.
When setting aside your research and then coming back to resume your research, this may help you uncover new methods to search for your ancestor. Ideas may come to you with additional techniques or methods that may help uncover a hidden ancestor. Recording these ideas in your journal will enabling you to discover additional findings with positive or negative results.
Research journals are great tools that give you the edge you need to breakthrough a genealogy brick wall. You should use one research journal per individual you are researching. You can store multiple research journals into your family research folder and using your favorite genealogy software you should record your research, to document sources as well as to provide the ability to restart a previous research project.
About the Author
I have been doing genealogy research for many years and have worked for Ancestry.com. Where I have been able to achieve a level 10 certification in genealogy research. While working for Ancestry.com I worked on a "Paid Genealogy" research team. Which included a friend of mine who now does professional genealogy research for others.
Please visit GermanResearcher.com a web site I designed to provide a connection with those seeking help and a professional genealogy researcher.
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