Monday, May 28, 2012

Samples of Essential Reports for Genealogists

I was really disappointed that I didn't get to go to the National Genealogical Society 2012 conference in early May to see my geneablogging colleagues, the exhibit hall and vendors, and some of the conference presentations.  However, we did a genealogy cruise instead.

One of the presentations that I really wanted to see was "Information Overload? Effective Project Planning, Research, data Management & Analysis" by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA.

When I saw that title, my first thought was "What?  In one hour?  Wow!"  I wish I had been there!  Oh, well - I'll try to catch it if it is presented again.  I did find several mentions and short summaries online in:

*  Laura Cosgrove Lorenzano:  Sentimental Sunday - NGS2012 and Family

*  Amanda E. Perrine:  NGS 2012: Final Day

*  Beirne Konarski:  Information Overload? Effective Project Planning, Research, Data Management & Analysis #ngs2012

Amanda noted in her blog post that Elizabeth had put several supporting documents from this presentation on the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) website - at  So I toddled over there and read the page carefully.

There were links to three PDF files for:

*   Record Analysis & Research Plan: Samuel Witter, 17th U.S. Infantry, War of 1812 Enlistment Record: An Analysis

*  Research Report: Samuel Witter (1787–1876) and the War of 1812 (an execution of the plan

*   Research Notes: Samuel Witter (1787–1876): Research Notes (reflecting all work & findings to date).

I spent a very pleasant two hours reading these files over the weekend...and came away really impressed (honestly, awestruck!) by the work product shown there, which apparently is from Elizabeth's own family history research.  One of the major takeaways for me was the list of War of 1812 record resources that were listed in the Research Report!  

Another major takeaway for me was that Elizabeth apparently used RootsMagic 5 software to generate the Research Notes report (and probably edited the report afterward).  That got me to wondering where the Research Notes were in RootsMagic 5 - I used the Help link to find them - and I will soon report on my experiences creating the Research Notes Report in another blog post.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Becky Wiseman said...

Randy, it was an awesome presentation as were the other three with her (and the four with Tom Jones)!

One of the things that I took away from that session is that Elizabeth Shown Mills types up a complete research report using a Word Processor.

She does not enter any data (or the research report) into Roots Magic until after the research report using the Word Processor is complete. She then copies the info from the word processor and pastes it into the Research Report in Roots Magic.

Julliana Lund said...

Thank for the review of ESM's class ... you sure make me wish I was there. You mentioned that there would be a video available for purchase - any idea where I can find that? I am desperate to improve my "methods" of research and analysis. This sounds like it would be very helpful. Thanks for a wonderful blog!

Connie Sheets said...

I'm not aware of video being available of this presentation, but one can purchase an audio CD from Jamb, Inc., not only for this but for many of the presentations at the NGS and other conferences.

It doesn't look to me like much editing was done to the RM5 Research Notes report, other than adding personalized headers and footers, and inserting graphics.

This report functionality was the sole reason I switched from Legacy to RootsMagic. Once you understand the purpose, you won't want to live without it!

While I agree one should do a research report first, if like me) you've been guilty of doing a lot of research without that, RM's Research Notes report is a lifesaver in terms of giving you a way to go back and re-analyze everything you've already done.

History Hunter said...

I've listened to the noted NGS presentation and reviewed the examples. However; I'm currently confronted with addressing about three generations worth of very detailed documentation that was left to me by my mother. Have you any suggestions on how I should group this material for the purpose of writing one or more research reports to capture the contained information? I'm not sure whether one report per surname is a good idea, because some life events (e.g. marriage) are shared.