Have I already researched that record? Where did I put that copy? Did I follow that up before?
How do you record your research leads for future follow up?
Over the years, the amount of research and leads in my records has grown substantially. Initially I printed out any potential leads for future follow up and research. However the house soon became a fire hazard with all the paper that I had everywhere! So I have tried to go paperless, except for important records and certificates, which are scanned in to the computer and stored in folders. On my computer I have a folder "To be Done" with sub folders for every surname I am researching. This worked well for several years.
However, I now find that I have too many leads to follow up and find myself researching leads that I am sure that I have looked at previously!
Therefore I spent several hours over the weekend and have commenced "sorting" my leads and summarising them into an Excel Spreadsheet. Excel is my preference as I can easily sort/locate/find information in future.
For me, I have two workbooks; one for maternal ancestors and another for paternal ancestors. There is a tab for each family name that I am researching. It was easy to copy the record so it is listed under both the birth name and also the married name tabs.
In the example above, you will see that I have leads for John Walker Snr, Elizabeth Walker and John Walker Jnr. The details of each lead are also summarised; Record Date, Record Type, Location, Source, Details, Actions Required and Comments. There is also a column indicating if I have copied the source document/information to Family Tree Maker.
When a document or lead has been discounted, I have changed the colour to red, but will leave it visible so that I do not order or research again in future.
Those in yellow are my best possibilities and are to be followed up first.
I have retained my "to be done" folders but the documents contained within each folder are being linked to the relevant person in Family Tree Maker.
I created a new Fact in Family Tree Maker 2012, which I called "Research Leads"
I have then attached/linked each research document and the spreadsheet to each of the relevant people in Family Tree Maker.
Now I have my leads summarised and easy to locate and follow up! It works for me anyway!
How do you keep track of your leads? Do you have an easier method?