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Creating a To Do List for Your Research

Updated: Dec 29, 2018

   As if I didn’t have enough on my plate, I finally upgraded my MacBook Air to a MacBook Pro this weekend.  My MacBook Air, was purchased in 2011, has made lots of trips with me, and is still working, but I was running out of hard disk space (I don’t store as much as I should in the Cloud). What’s kept me from upgrading earlier was the one USB-C port…how do I connect all of my peripherals?  I spent an hour in the local Apple Store and ended up with a dock for my desk and two dongles for traveling and presentations…one HDMI and one VGA.  I backed up everything from my old drive to an external  drive and have been careful about moving things to the new computer. I really didn’t need to keep the 2008 version of my lecture on Irish church records, especially since it was on every backup and lots has changed! 😀 Everything is taking a bit longer as I find I need to reconfigure the stuff I’ve used for ages.  It’s little things, like my signature on emails, favorite fonts for my blog, preferences in various apps.  I think it’s like moving…you need to do it often to clear everything out!

   The Ireland research trip is getting closer and I need to look at my "to do” list for the trip.  Although I spend most of my time assisting others, if everyone is humming along, I sometimes get to spend some time on my own work.   I’ve found that a spreadsheet works best for me for keeping track of things to do.  I used to use the list in my genealogy software, but I do so much on line now, that I found I sometimes forgot to open the software to made an addition.  It goes back to my overall problem of getting my online and computer based databases sync'd.  I now keep the spreadsheet on my (computer) desktop where I can open it and make an addition at any time.  I definitely tend to be a BSO (bright shiny object) person and my to do list helps keep me focused.

   My list is a checklist format from a basic template listed in the application Numbers (Apple version of Excel).  I start with the repository.  Since I add things randomly, this allows me to sort and group all of the items for a repository together.

Sample To Do List

If you are interested, I’ve save a copy of this template as both a PDF and .xls here.

   Happy Hunting!

One of the comments that appeared on the website survey related to finding the place in Ireland where your ancestor was born.  My Quick Reference Guide #1, Preparing for Success in Irish Research addresses just that question.  Here are some links to other blogs I’ve written on the subject.  I will continue to write on this in the future. 

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