Some notes from RootsTech 2015

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 I’d like to share some notes from one of the classes at RootsTech 2015. The presenter was D. Joshua Taylor and his topic was titled, “Before You Click: Creating Your Online Research Plan.”

In my personal approach to family history research, I’m always constrained by the limited amount of time I have to work with. My passion is to make enough inroads to not only verify the accuracy of what we’ve documented but to uncover the rich stories of our ancestors and make them available here on this blog, and also on With this wish as a backdrop, let me now relate how this topic might help achieve this desire.
As Joshua Taylor describes, “With thousands of ancestors to find, it is essential that those working on their family history make the most of their time.” I can relate. Personally, I find myself buried in piles of copies of research notes and scattered computer files, and photos. This concerns me. I don’t want to leave a legacy of piles of research and unorganized computer files. If I, or someone else is looking for something we should never have to spend more than 30 minutes to find it, or at the most 120 minutes. My underlying goal is to make my electronic file system as easy as possible to find things.
Emery and Annalee (1902)One of the methods that Mom and I stumbled across was to embed specific information in our photo file names. For instance, take a look at this recent filename: “Emery_I9_Annalee_I902_Annie_L_I154_1931.jpg”. Notice how we embed the first name and the individual ID number found in Also notice the embedded date of the photo, if its known. For multiple people in a photo, this can extend the file name length. Yet, we’ve found that its so helpful in identifying the people in the photo.
Now rather than “dump the whole load,” on you with these class notes. It might be better to break them up into multiple parts. With that said, let me attempt to publish these in a series of multiple parts. So, consider this as part one of “n,” where “n” is an unknown number until I can gather and organize my notes.
In parting, let me leave you with one of Joshua Taylor’s nuggets of wisdom from this particular class.
On average, for every hour you spend online, plan to spend at least two hours preparing to research, analyzing data, and compiling your results. Keys to time management for genealogists include developing goals, prioritizing, collaborating, delegating, and planning ahead.”