That is my question for the month. Yes, I know it has been a while since I asked a question but truly I have been doing some research. As our most recent podcast is about getting ready for a research trip and since Amy and I have planned one, I thought I better do a recheck to see if I am actually ready for this trip.
Ticket? check! car rental? check! Hotel? check! preliminary research? meh…working on it. One thing I wanted to do was to have all my information on what I have already researched at my fingertips. Since I am a note taker (in the form of lots of little Post-it notes and scraps of paper all over) I wanted something I could take with me and have all in one place. I needed a journal of some sort. Something with organizational potential. Hello Google, whatcha got? Google hands me a bullet journal. I did a lot of research on the bullet journal and watched a ton of videos. Most people use it for daily journaling. They include monthly, weekly calendars and daily note pages which would be great as well but not my purpose here. However, I thought I could adapt it for what I need.
There are so many options out there but I ended up purchasing a Moleskin. I have to watch what pen I use as the pages are a bit thin and some ink ghosts through. Some other brands have thicker pages but I am not doodling or using color markers in this journal (at least not anymore) so I just wanted to be cost-effective and find something lightweight to carry with me.
At the beginning of a bullet journal, you want to create an index and you will want to number your pages so you can find your notes quickly. Mine is fairly simple, my index is the first four pages and then I am right into my notes.
My first note has the name of my ancestor at the top and what exactly I am trying to find out. What is my question? In this example, I am asking about John Burk(e), who is his father? The rest of the page or pages is devoted to what I find or don’t find. My first section is checking on a marriage record. I of course first checked Ancestry and Family Search, I even spent time in the browse images in the county marriage records to no avail. Then I hit the phone trail and called the county clerks of 6 counties (I have more to go yet). They were all helpful and did some checking but nothing turned up. Beginning to wonder how far they ran off to get married. In the bullet journal I noted everyplace I called and what the result was. In the index, I wrote “Burk, John search for father”. This way later in the year when I want to take up this search again, I can find it quickly in the index and see what has already been done without digging through a ton of Post-It notes. I can also make a copy of that page and add it to a research log.
I did not link any videos or websites with bullet journal possibilities as there are too many out there and you can easily find them on Google. There is even one Youtube video called Bullet Journaling for Genealogy (ok, that one I linked). A big difference between what I do and the others do is the calendar. I am not using a calendar in this journal. I will make note of the dates I did the research but no calendar. I just want the pages with the research and the index to find it quickly.
At this point, I think I am a more ready than I was before for this research trip.