Drew Smith’s Organize Your Genealogy (2016)

Organize Your Genealogy

We have a pretty good collection of local history and local genealogy material for those interested in researching their Carroll County roots. However, it’s not always easy to navigate, and we’re hoping to add more current resources on genealogy in general. One of the library goals for 2020 (because it’s one of my goals as a staff member 🙂 ) is to work on updating this collection and ensuring the resources we do have are more accessible and easier to use. To that end, I thought I’d review one of the items we already have in this collection.

Genealogy is one of my hobbies, though it is a hobby I’ve not actually practiced for about a year. Part of my own personal goals for 2020 is resuming my genealogical research, but it was (to be honest) a daunting task to re-familiarize myself with where I left off on multiple family trees. Drew Smith’s Organize Your Genealogy is a great resource for ideas on how to organize your genealogical research, whether you’re just starting out or an old pro at genealogy. Smith is an experienced genealogist (and a librarian!), and he clearly knows his subject very well.

In his introduction, Smith suggests not reading the book all the way through and instead targeting your reading for the sections that are of most interest to you (and then skipping around to the rest of the book if you’re interested), and I think that’s sound advice. I’m a fairly organized person–when it comes to research, at least–and was most interested in the sections that specifically involved organizing genealogical research goals, processes, and results.

However, if you’re not very organized by nature, you might want to back up a few chapters to the more general opening sections on organizing yourself and your workspace before hopping into the genealogy-focused chapters. Likewise, if you’re already pretty sure of yourself regarding genealogical research but are looking to get even more extensive in your research, you might be more interested in his chapters on organizing for research trips or genealogy-related education and volunteer opportunities.

This book is definitely geared toward people who use apps/websites to organize their lives–Smith is a Mac user but takes time to also suggest and discuss similar PC resources. I’d like to think I’m pretty well up on various apps and software, but Smith talked about all sorts of resources that I had no clue existed. (And to be fair, in the few years since the release of his book, I’m sure even more have come out.) If you’re more of a paper file person, don’t despair–he also does cover ways to organize those, though again the focus is more digital in general. The only drawback is it seems like the URLs Smith included for free worksheets/forms are now broken.

Still, if you have any interest in genealogy, definitely check this book out! It’s full of easy-to-use, practical tips to ensure your genealogy projects run much, much smoother.

P.S. If you have ideas/suggestions/requests for what you’d like to see in our revamped genealogy section, please let me know!

In the meantime, you may have noticed that we’re moving quite a bit of our nonfiction section around. That’s partially for space concerns (we really need a new library), but it’s also a way to highlight some of our more frequently used nonfiction resources, including but not limited to books on collectibles, test prep and career guide resources, and legal aid books. Stop by and check out our new set-up!

As always, please check out our online library catalog for more information on this book (or any of our items). Are you an avid genealogist? What are some of your favorite genealogical research tips and tools? What’s some of the most interesting tidbits you’ve learned about your family tree? Tell us in the comments! 


Author: berryvillelibrary

"Our library, our future"

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