It’s Pizza Weather here…

by which I mean the snow is deep and crisp and even…

So – for the first time I have cancelled my afternoon class because of adverse weather; and my planned afternoon work’s yesterday (research in the archives) was also cancelled…

So: it’s an day to be spent with a nice new notebook, all pristine and neat and waiting to be written in,  drawing up a research plan for one of my new projects.  I use a separate notebook for each of my projects, and always begin with a statement of what I want to find out, followed by a list of as many sources as I can think of (followed by several blank pages to be filled in as I discover new sources).  Each page has a left hand margin, where I tick off each source as I check it: then details of what the source is, and where I can actually access it: then three narrow margins on the right hand side. The first of these is for the date when I checked the source:  the second indicates whether I may need to revisit the source; the third is a yes/no box so that I can see if I actually found what I was looking for.

These first few pages act as an aide-memoire so that I can see at a glance what I’ve looked at and what I need to look at.  Thereafter each and every piece of information I discover is noted down on a fresh page (with the date, respository and reference number as a heading). 

By the time I’ve finished a project I usually have several notebooks, all crossreferenced to each other and to a larger file where I store copies of documents.

At this stage, my poor notebooks are no longer pristine and neat: they bristle with post-it notes, bookmarks (often old train tickets!), odd bits of paper stapled in, drawings etc.  But the notebooks are never, ever thrown away: once the project is complete the notebooks are numbered and carefully stored away, and the number (and title project) added to a separate checklist.  Just in case I ever need to refer to them again, or if a query is raised, or if new information comes to hand and the project needs revising.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: never, ever throw away your original notes.

Each notebook also has my address written inside: just in case I have a fit of absent-mindedness and  leave it in an archive. Archive and Records Office staff will ALWAYS return this sort of lost property if they have an address to send it to.



About kate

Experienced genealogist but virgin blogger...
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