If you’re like most genealogists—especially those researching online—your finds far outstrip your ability to organize them all. Printouts from websites pile up and valuable info vanishes in the flood of uncategorized paper. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all that “stuff” could be stored electronically so you could instantly search for ancestral names and other keywords? Even better would be a digital storehouse for your research that you could access from anywhere—even your cell phone—and that was safely backed up in the online “cloud.”
Welcome to Evernote, the disorganized genealogist’s new best friend. This free download lets you dump “clippings” from websites, scanned documents, even photos into a sort of digital soup.
Once you’ve added raw research material to Evernote, you can create “tags”—ancestral surnames, for example, or research repositories—and use them to categorize your content. Or you simply can search for words in the text of everything you’ve added to Evernote; the program will perform text recognition on images, even your hand-scribbled notes, to make these searchable as well. Evernote regularly syncs the data on your computer with an online copy of your notes that you can access via any web browser. You also can sync with Evernote apps for your phone or iPad.
Here’s how to get started in three easy steps:
1. To get started, simply surf to the Evernote website and click to download the version for your operating system (it automatically recognizes whether you’re using a Mac or PC).
2. Follow the installation instructions and pick a username and password to create your free, secure account.
3. Enter the confirmation code that arrives in your e-mail inbox, and you’re all set!
If you’re struggling under the weight of all the paper piles your research has generated, this class is for you. We’ll explore Evernote, a free tool designed to help you keep all of your research finds in one organized place.