In my recent posting where I gave an account of how I used DTPO in my Genealogical research I covered my basic usage of DTPO with the Genealogical software Reunion, in this posting I take this to the next stage and show how I use DTPO to carry out further research.
A lot of time is spent in getting information into DTPO and it is easy to then sit back and say to oneself, “job done.” But there is no point in getting all this data nicely sorted if then you do not use it for researching further into your family’s history, I have found that the Devon suite of applications, (I use DEVONthink Pro Office and DEVONagent) facilitates good research and saves a lot of time and frustration. There is one feature of DTPO that stands out as being very useful in this respect, the ability to make Annotations is a very important function, Data>New from Template>Annotation. I use Annotations quite extensively as they enable me to identify further areas of research. What follows is probably the most useful of all my Annotations and I have devised a template specifically for this that I find very helpful to attach to a document that needs further research. I have entitled this template “Memorabilia Checklist” and it contains a list of suggestions of things to do to aid further research. Here is an image of my Memorobilia Checklist Annotation Template. (I adapted this from the book by Karen Foy, “Ancestors in the Attic”, History Press Ltd 2012, a very good resource for dealing with memorabilia).
The items on the checklist can, of course, be adapted for appropriate use and I do not have to stick slavishly to it as other questions crop up I try to address them and make a note on the annotation. Also some questions are not appropriate to the document that I am researching further.
The beauty of having this attached to a document is that I can easily identify areas of further research and when I have done that research I enter the results after the appropriate question. This is a neat way of getting a clear picture of what was going on in my ancestor’s life and for me really is the interest of genealogy in the first place.
It also serves as a rudimentary record of where and when I have done research. I really ought to develop this aspect further as I am not good and a bit lazy about recording details such as these! What I should be doing is making a note of when, where and whether or not my research has been successful…suggestions welcome!
All I have got to do now is find a way in which this annotation template could be automatically attached to a document when I import it into DTPO, that would be great—said with tongue firmly in cheek!
So briefly my workflow when, say, Aunt Mabel sends me a box of “Uncle Bob’s stuff” is to straight away sort it into date order, scan or photograph it, import the resulting documents into the appropriate Groups in DTPO, put into Reunion any information that is thrown up and create links between the item and Reunion, identify items that need further research and attach the above template to it, then do the fun bit of research.
Hope this is of interest and I will, of course, be very pleased to answer any questions if you have any.