Thursday, 21 June 2012

Storing the evidence

How do you keep the evidence that rebuts the family legend that great-aunt Dora was actually the lost heir to the Romanoffs? A physical document is obviously ideal but it is simply not practical to obtain actual certificates for all the claims that we find in exploring an extensive family tree.

If you use Family Search (the extensive free service provided by the Church of the Latter Day Saints) or other on-line database, then you may have collected a list of URLs that allow you to return to previously searched pages. You could store them as a set of browser bookmarks (or Favorites) or in a separate document (such as a spreadsheet).

My favourite genealogy software (Gramps) allows me to save the search link within the record for the person concerned. But I need to be constantly alert to copy data from one place to another and reformat for each different store. When you are hot on a trail, this (very necessary) housekeeping can interrupt the flow. Or worse still, you come to tidy up at the end of a session and find that there was one URL you did not collect!

What you need is a one-click method to record the location data without leaving the search and store it securely for later review and processing. In recent weeks, FamilySearch has introduced My Source Box that does just that.

If, like me, you have been using Family Search anonymously, now is the time to create a (free) account. This will allow you to create a Source Box and return to it each time you use the site. Create folders to group records (or remove them when you change your mind).

Any item in the box can be opened to link directly to the record you made it from or to enable information to be backed-up into my spreadsheet or Gramps at my convenience.

This is one part of a new service called FamilyTree that has been built on genealogy tools previously restricted to members of the LDS Church but now being opened to the public. Not all parts of FamilyTree work yet but if My Source Box is any indication, the rest should be worth waiting for.

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