Thursday, November 3, 2011

Introduction To OneNote For Genealogists



Well, I've started using Microsoft's OneNote to organize my digital files, and I realized as I started that there a lot of videos and "How To" articles on the internet about organizing your genealogy, but most of them assume you are dealing with stacks of paper, which of course, I am trying to avoid.

So, after a little bit of use, I put together this "Introduction To OneNote For Genealogists" video.  It's my first attempt at any kind of "How To" video, so I'm open to whatever criticism, good or bad, comes of it. If it's something people seem interested in, I may do some more shorter videos that identify some of the "neat" features of the program and how they can enhance your research, but this particular video is meant as an introduction and to get people thinking about how easy it can be to convert countless binders to a simple set of OneNote notebooks.

Feel free to leave a comment with what you like, didn't like, etc about the video and/or if you are interested in hearing more about OneNote.

25 comments:

  1. Fabulous video. I love OneNote and like the feature where you can link the different pages. I wasn't familiar with that and see how handy it could be.

    I'm looking forward to more videos. Great job and thank you!

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  2. Brian, I think you did a great job on the video, and I'm looking forward to the next one. I have never been able to see the benefit in using OneNote in my genealogy, other than pasting clips of stuff I wanted to save for later. Now, I see the real value. While I'm not sure that I will use it for my genealogy (my RootsMagic pretty much covers all that), I have already started using it for an administrative manual for our law office (which I have been avoiding because I didn't want to print out a bunch of copies that no one will ever read). It's so much easier!

    Thank you, thank you!

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  3. Thanks for the comments, Michelle and Jenny. I appreciate you stopping by and telling me what you think. I was struggling between the length of the video and ensuring I hit on enough minor topics that it at least piqued some interest.

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  4. Great start with the video (what program did you use for that?). I love OneNote and think that Microsoft really needs to push it for things like genealogy. I have notebooks for my blog, my genealogy, travel, etc. I think it lends itself really well to research especially since you have the url right with whatever you have sent to OneNote.

    Do you use a genealogy database program? Something I do is put a clipping of my individual or pedigree shots in my OneNote and I also use it for ancestry.com search results.

    Looking forward to more video tutorials. Thanks

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  5. OneNote was a wonderful ideas for all the years of clutter I have on genealogy. I have a question though, where/how are you documenting the source? Looking forward to your next video!

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  6. @Tessa - I used CamStudio to make the video. It's free, but there's some set up that goes into making it work well enough to post videos to YouTube and the like. Worth the effort, though, if you're thinking about doing instructional videos.

    @Michelle - I'm finding it VERY helpful in cleaning up what a friend of mine calls her "PHD" (Pile... High & Deep) I'll try to tackle how you can document sources in an upcoming video. That's a great question.

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  7. Hi Brian,

    As far as the length of your video, I thought it was perfect. I learned something new but it was short enough that I actually watched it. The longer ones I find I don't always get through due to other time constraints, interruptions, etc.

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  8. Loved the video, Brian. Thanks for sharing your knowledge about OneNote this way. I've been playing around with OneNote for a litle while now. I love the concept as it relates to genealogy research. I learned some new stuff from watching your video and am looking forward to watching others as you create them.

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  9. If you're saving your Notebooks straight to a flash-drive as your only copy, you're cruisin' for a bruisin'. How about saving them to your computer and then backing them up to your flash-drive as well as other places?

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  10. @JL - Agreed. I don't keep the files only on a single flash drive. I actually have 2 flash drives, so periodically (usually Saturday morning) I copy from my main drive to my hard drive and then back up to my backup flash drive. Since most of my work has relatively little change most of the time, this works okay for me now. I haven't taken the plunge to saving to "the cloud" yet, but I suppose that will be coming soon.

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  11. If you change your default OneNote notebooks location to somewhere on your hard-drive, every single day you can send them to both your flash-drives. I'm just saying because flash-drives are notoriously unstable and it sounds like you have a lot invested. Just the other day someone came to my site with the search query, 'how to get things off a flash drive when it goes bad'. Quick answer: there isn't any way.

    I keep my OneNote notebooks in My Dropbox and back them up from there to external hard-drives several times a day as well as to Carbonite.

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  12. Hey, where've ya been? I've missed the inspiration of your posts! How's your office looking these days?

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  13. Not quite time to listen and play with OneNote at the moment - Sat morning job, but love PHD!

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  14. I just saw your video on YouTube and was happy to see someone else likes OneNote for genealogy organization. I appreciated the instruction on creating a linked page.
    I started using OneNote for my genealogy research by accident. I was trying to copy and paste a webpage and found when you right click on the page you can Send to OneNote. The link is automatically added to your OneNote page. Very easy and convenient.
    I am wondering how to use OneNote in unison with a software program. I was using PAF5 and have been happy with it, but Family Tree Maker and Legacy were recommended to me. Any thoughts about free/cheap software and using it with OneNote?

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  15. Hi Kate -

    What exactly are you trying to do with One Note to integrate with other software... or are you just looking for ideas on what kinds of things you might do?

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  16. Someone on the Association of Professional Genealogists email list recommended your video after I had asked how people were using OneNote. EXCELLENT video! I have so many idea now! I have never used OneNote though I use Word and Excel all the time. I am looking forward to looking through your blog for more great ideas :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment, Michele. As you can tell, it has clearly been a while since I've posted anything on the blog. I'm working on a new OneNote video that I think may be helpful and will hopefully have posted relatively shortly.

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    2. Found your video the same may Michele did. Was inspired to start using OneNote today for my research plans.

      Looking forward to your new video. Hope it covers how to import forms (templates) from Word and how to use them in OneNote.

      Thanks,

      Kathie

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  17. Thank you for your video,it has sprung me into "organizing action"! I hope you will do other videos on your digital genealogy organizing?

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  18. Just saw your video, and found it very helpful! Did you finish the new one mentioned in the comments? I would love to hear more of your tips on using it for genealogy.

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  19. Hi - Just viewed your video since it was mentioned in the Oct/Nov 2013 issue of Family Tree Magazine and appreciate the simple explanations - made it easy to understand. However, do you only use One Note for your research or do you use other online programs such as Ancestry.com. I like the ease of organization that One Note offers but it seems it is just duplicating information already on my online program. Comments?

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  20. Ok, that's embarassing. I guess I better get the next video done and out the door if people/organizations are going to be sending traffic that way! but to answer your question, it is a little redundant in some ways, but I don't keep everything in FTM. I try to only keep confirmed or things I'm very confident about in my actual genealogy program, whatever it is. I use OneNote for research, then when I am happy with my research results, I add the new or updated information into FTM. It's a fair question - I think it just depends on how you are already using your genealogy program (whatever it may be)

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  21. Probably the most useful thing about OneNote is that when copying & pasting something from the web the original link is added at the bottom of the pasted content eg Pasted from

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  22. Sorry forgot to mention, you can also add voice memos, videos, photos and other MS Office documents to your OneNote pages.
    Robyn

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  23. Brian,
    What a great idea!!!! Thanks for the video. I have dabbled in using One Note in my research but it never really took. Now it's going to. Great job! You definitely have another fan!!!! I'll be sharing your blog with my blog followers.
    Thanks for sharing your ideas with the world!
    Alanna

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