Last March, I wrote a post called My digital workflow that detailed what I do with a document I find on the Internet. (I never print it.) My digital workflow has not changed since then and it’s working out really well for me.
Last weekend, I did a talk at the St. Louis Genealogy Conference about going paperless and in my Powerpoint I included screenshots of the digital workflow and also a summary slide. The attendees asked for copies of the summary slide, so I decided to post it here.
The process is basically the same as my March post but I switched up the steps a little.
The example I used in my talk was my father’s uncle, Jay Ellis Adams (1914-2004). I had found his obituary online at the newspaper’s website. Here’s the workflow:
1. I click Print and, in the printer dialog box, Open in Preview (my Mac’s default pdf reader), which downloads the document to my computer. (If it had been a document at Ancestry, I would have clicked Save, then Save to My Computer.)
2. I immediately rename the file, using my file-naming protocol, which is Date Type of Document-Ancestor Name-Locality. I stick it into my Surnames folder, as a temporary holding place until I file it in step 6. I know that any unfiled documents in the Surnames folder require processing.
3. I select a fact from the document, add it to Reunion and create a source citation for it.
4. In Reunion, I click the Preview tab in the source record and then click Copy Source. (For the eagle-eyes among you, I originally found a transcript at Genealogy Bank and used that as the source citation. Then I decided to go to the newspaper’s website and download it from there, so I changed the source citation. But I was too lazy to take a new screenshot.)
5. I paste the source citation into the metadata of the source document (the obituary) by Ctrl-clicking on the file and selecting Get Info from the menu that appears, then pasting into the Comments area.
6. Then I file the document into my folder structure. My folder structure for collateral relatives is Genealogy/Surnames/Collateral/[Surname]/[Name of Ancestor (YOB-YOD)]. If the document applies to multiple people, I duplicate it for each person and then drag it into the appropriate folder for each person. But I don’t take the trouble to rename it.
7. The final step is to drag the document into the Multimedia area of the source record in Reunion. This creates a link to the document so that I can open it up inside Reunion, which is very handy.
From there, I continue to extract information from the source document and add that it to Reunion. Every piece of information I glean from a single source document uses the same source number, no matter what person it applies to.
Here’s the summary slide:
This is the way I do and it works well for me. Of course, it’s not the only way to do it or perhaps the best way to do it. But I’m hoping you’ll find it useful to see my workflow. I’ve been processing documents this way for almost a year now and it’s working very well.
For more in-depth information on going digital with your genealogy research, check out The Paperless Genealogy Guide, a 44-page downloadable guide written by paperless expert Brooks Duncan and me and available for $9.