Do you ever feel like you are playing ‘catch up’ with your genealogy research? I know that when I first started, I would come home from a genealogy research trip with a pile of paper notes. That pile of paper would sit for weeks (months and even years) before I would get caught up working thru it.
As I’m reviewing my 3rd great grandparents, I feel like I’m in ‘catch up’ mode again. That’s because I’m finding poor citations and holes in my research. In the process, I’m finding that I need a set of research notes for each of these individuals so I know what I have and what I’m missing.
Since I use Scrivener to keep my research for a county/area along with transcriptions of records, I thought I could use Scrivener to keep these notes. However, after completing a few sets, I found that I either had to spend some time learning more about Scrivener or switch to a different tool. Thus, I re-watched several of Constance Knox’s Genealogy TV videos about research notes.
- Learn Genealogy: Research Notes
- How to Create a Research Notes Template
- Add a Table of Contents to Your Research Notes using MS Word
- Your Question Answered Part 2: About How and Why You Should Keep Good Research Notes …
Following the tips from these videos, I started using her template (available $ here). I’m finding that I like using the ideas from the videos and this template better that what I was doing in Scrivener. Basically, this is due to the fact that my Word skills are better than my Scrivener skills.
In working thru the template, I was copying notes, transcriptions of records and citations from my RootsMagic program. Thus, I began wondering whether I could use a RM report to generate a set of notes. And I thought about using a Narrative Report. I attempted this process using the following settings for the narrative report.
- One Generation
- Include Notes
- New paragraph after every fact
- Include Private Facts
- Include Private Notes
- No Index
- Endnotes: Print Research Notes
- Endnotes: Print Comments
- Reuse Endnote Numbers
When it comes to the Endnotes, this creates a very MESSY report. That’s because I wanted EVERYTHING that I have in RM to be included in the report, including the transcriptions of records that I put in the RESEARCH NOTE field for a citation.
By including those research notes, I discovered that I would also have to use ENDNOTES to create the report and not footnotes. This issue was discussed on the RootsMagic Community where a power user provided a very logical explanation. (See question: Unable to generate any sort of Narrative reports on my win10 laptop)
The problem arises when the footnotes take up so much space on a page that RM’s report writer gets flummoxed with pagination. That’s not an issue with endnotes which can be of any length.
I also found that editing the document containing endnotes did not allow me to remove an endnote and thus renumber the remaining endnotes. Nor, was I able to convert the Endnotes to Footnotes.
Because of these issues with ENDNOTES, I retried creating the report using FOOTNOTES and not asking the report to include the ‘research notes’ attached to the citation. While this report would provide a starting point, working with the footnotes was still problematic.
Not willing to give up, I tried creating the report without sourcing. This pulls the sentences and notes for the person that can be easily copied into the template.
Working with this document, I can add the bold headings.
As I work my way thru the document, I can see spelling and formatting errors in the RootsMagic sentences and notes. I can also add the sourcing for each event.
While creating these research notes will be time consuming, I believe that I will not only end up with better sourcing but also with a better understanding of what I’m missing.