Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for Records and Research Logs

Whether you are researching your memoirs, a novel, your family history, or some local history it is vital that you keep track of the research you have done.

You can find blank research forms or calendars on the Internet or make your own.

The important things to include are:
The subject of the search: a person, location or key words
A column for the date the research was performed
The call number or web site or other identifying information
The title of the book, site or article
The results. Did you find what you were looking for?

A chart such as this can also be used to plan research. When you first arrive at the library or archives go through the finding aids or catalog and write down everything you think would be helpful. Then as you work your way through the list you add the date of the search and the results.

Research logs can keep you from wasting time in checking sources more than once. Taking the time to check finding aids and cataloges will open up research plans you didn't even know about.

Another way to plan your research strategy and make sure you haven't forgotten anything is to have a list of all the possible sources your should check. This list is geared to family history research but can be applied to anything else you may be interested in. Here's one of my favorite Source Checklists.

Another little tip I used to tell the people in my classes is to keep a yellow pad handy. While analyzing your records jot down all ideas and questions. These are temporary sheets and will not become a permanent part of your records. The yellow sheets are also easy to spot when you are in the heat of the search.

A book signing for the book I spent three years researching and writing.

I am now working on a revised edition with updated information.

One of my articles in the "Tombstone Times." A history journal from the Town Too Tough To Die.