Technology and Record Piles, the Dark Side of Genealogy

We are looking at a long winter here in New Jersey.  The State Archive is closed indefinitely, in-person library visits on hold and historical societies are hibernating. I have enough source material to keep myself occupied at home, and I’ve decided to digitize, cite, and index all of my personal research and reference resources I’ve accumulated over the years. I’ve done this with all of my later projects, but my earliest research is in a mixed state.  Some records are buried in a folder, not well documented and others, a bit ragged, needing a refresh.  I had many of these records in genealogy software, which I was very fond of, RootsMagic; I loved it for the creation of full citations, including adding the image of the documents sourced. Unfortunately, More than once, I have had issues when Mac updates its OS, and Roots Magic is unusable for quite a while.  Sure, there is a promise that an upgrade will be available for purchase later, but when I want to pull up my organized sources, that isn’t much help.

So my earlier records need to be documented in my Genealogy software of choice, Word. I am also considering giving Scrivener one last try as well.  I will be following the teachings of Michelle Novak; if you haven’t taken her course on preserving photos, or organization you should. I’ve been using her file naming conventions from her class for all my saved records, and it is a lifesaver. 

I’ve decided for each hour of “fun,” research, and writing, I must do penance of an hour of organizing. Midway through my penance, Apple rolled out an update, and my Macbook won’t accept it, not enough disk space. I’ve removed the applications to the bare bones but still stuck.  Most of my disk usage is the system, so there isn’t anything I can do at this point but reinvest.

I have a new Mac, and of course, the ports have changed (shrunk and reduced), making USB more challenging to use. My 2015 Mac’s trade-in pretty much covers the cost of the accessories I have to purchase to make this baby work for me. Unfortunately, my favorite scanner isn’t recognized by the new creature on my desk, so I will have to either replace the scanner or see what I can do to make it work.  I had noticed in the past the older Mac sometimes didn’t seem to find it either.  The scanner is old, so I can’t complain too much (but I will). 

I still would like to find a replacement genealogy software, if only for charting, but it will have to be written for Mac, or it is a no go. I guess the other option is to find a cheap barebones PC for the software, but not a fan of such a wasteful choice.

The Fennimore family, my second oldest project, is first on the organization list. I only have 6 inches of older holdings to get digitized.  While I add information to my Ancestry DNA trees, I get distracted by the shiny objects (new finds).  There is always hope that going through my older records, I will find that one hint to locate who were the parents of my William Fennimore, my original brick wall. 

What are your organizing solutions? Please share your secrets!



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