Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Using a Powerpoint for Quick Reference

Sorry for the delay!  I spent this July 4th weekend visiting my family in Kentucky.  I got preoccupied and totally didn't make time for this Monday's blog post - and I am sorry.

However, during my stay, I was able to get names to faces!  I have a ton of pictures where we had now idea who these people were.  I visited my cousin who has the actual pictures, and on the back of the photographs were names, stories, and tons of information!  It was like I struck gold.  It was wonderful.  I couldn't stay long, so I didn't get as much down as I had wanted.  I plan on going back to visit and hopefully get some more answers!

For this Monday's blog post, I want to show you how I started getting information organized.  I keep a lot of stuff digital, but I also keep a hard copy, too, just in case.  I have created a file just for Ancestry & Genealogy.
I have on my desktop a file for Organization.  This is where I keep my Ancestry file.

Ancestry has a file folder for Genealogy, where I keep all of my genealogical finds.  I have them organized by surnames.

Within a surname file, for example Lyons, I have a powerpoint, a file folder for pictures, and a file folder for legal documents.  Within this surname file, I have miscellaneous documents that can help with my research: such as obituaries or memorandum programs at funerals.

I found it was easy for me to quickly input information into Powerpoint.  This allows me to add slides as needed and be flexible with basic research.  At a later time, I can then transfer the information onto paper.  Following family trees isn't linear, so I find that having generations upon generations on a family tree can get overwhelming and there isn't much information to put into those trees.  This also helps me gather information for my Family Albums.

First slide of all family powerpoints include the surname, crest (if available), and family motto.
On the first slide, I have the Surname and potentially a family crest and/or motto.  Each slide is a family member's record.  It includes:

  • Full name
  • Birth date and location
  • Parents' names
  • Spouse's name and date with location that they married 
  • Children's names and birth dates
  • Death date and location and location of where they are buried

Some information is missing for a few members, and that's ok.  I just fill in what I have, and as I discover more, I add it as needed.

This is an example of an ancestor's slide record.  It includes name, birthdate and location, parents, spouse, children, and death date.  Some information is missing, but I fill it in later as I find those documents.

I organize the next slides to follow the paternal side.  So for example, I switched to a longer line to help follow this pattern.  James Foster's parents are John Foster & Zilpha Adair.  So after his slide (I included a slide of a picture of his homestead with address, so excuse that) I made a new slide for John Foster.

The slide after that is John's father, James "Andy" Foster.  Then the slide after that is "Andy" Foster's dad, James Whiteside.

Yes, Andy did not carry his father's last name, but we are still following the paternal line.  From there, I continue on with the men.

Once I reach the end of the paternal line, I go back to the maternal lines.  For this transition, I go back to the first James Foster's wife, Ester.  From there, I follow her paternal line until it ends.

In this case, it doesn't go far, so I go back to her mother.  That doesn't last long either.

So the next one is John Foster's wife, Zilpha.  Her family is unknown.  So I go down the list for spouses, and I follow their family line.
Once a line ends, you go back down to the fill in the spouses and their family line.

Basically, each family powerpoint starts with the surname and follows the paternal male lineage.  So the first few slides are only the men.  Then following the men, you go back to the first paternal male in the powerpoint and add his spouse.  It's as if you are following the numbers in order of the slides.

If you get lost at all, you can also type beside names of spouses and children their slide number to easily jump to their slide record (just remember to update them if you add a slide in the middle!).

This powerpoint is only used to contain basic information so that I can fill in details to add to my Family Albums, pedigree charts, family records, and so forth.  All of this information is easily backed up, and I can bring it with me to use on the computers at the genealogical library to update information as I find it.  The best part is that it's free if you have powerpoint on your computer and easy to share!

 If you have any questions, feel free to email me or comment below!  If you need help organizing your powerpoint, let me know and I'll gladly help.  Or, if you have a method for a quick reference and organization of your family lineage that is different than this powerpoint version, share your tips in the comments!  There's no "right" way to do it, so as long as it is right for you!

*** UPDATE ***
I have created a visual powerpoint.  Unfortunately, my notes didn't get copied over.  :(  But I hope that this visual helps.


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