Friday, November 18, 2016

Planner and Notebook Accessories

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2016
Planner and Notebook Accessories

When I decided to buy an Erin Condren planner, I spent a lot of time investigating the accessories that are used with the planner and the notebook system. I went to two Staples and discovered some of the accessories in the clearance section and a display of the current planners. I was lucky to find two clutches and two notebooks marked down (for the 7x9 size). The accessories were not marked down so I looked them over and found some of them at Amazon and purchased them.

Once I decided that I did not need the large Life Planner (TM), I went to online store and ordered the Deluxe Monthly planner and some accessories that you see here. It was enough to make my order come UPS instead of the mail where items like this get mangled. My plan worked. I kept the packing box. Other than being pink, it is a great box for storing items.

I have put one notebook into use and put the other away for next year. This way I will only have to make a planner decision next year. 

The markers seemed too expensive but since I am worth it (😁) I bought a set. They are wet based (not dry erase), so I opened and tested them. The company makes other colors but I liked the bold ones. You need water and a tissue to erase them. Here are all of the photos I have taken so far.

Happy Planning!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Analog and Digital Genealogist

The Life of an Analog and Digital Genealogist
(supply your own caffeine)

Educators use resources like this Venn Diagram to teach students to organize their thoughts before starting a project. (Link)

It was the only way I could think of to explain how I think many genealogists work on projects. I haven't completed setting up my project planner for 2017, so I need to get everything in place in the next month. 

I have used this type of pad that I buy at Staples to keep track of my projects. I only have three pads left and I think I will just cut them down and paste them in my research journal. It will be an easy design to put in after I see how many projects I think I can manage this year.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Planner Features

Features of a Planner

I started using a paper planner again to help me, not only with my research, but with writing in my blogs. This is my current (2016) planner which I bought because it featured a strong front and back page and (grin) coloring pages. I would not do that again because I have not colored as many of the pages as I wished.

I learned that I like a spiral binding because I can fold it over to put in the stand and because it is easier to pick up and write in.

I liked the large space for planning with each day but I quickly learned that I did not need to use the "daily or hourly space". I like the reminders section for keeping track of items I have on order or appointments for the NEXT month. 

This is the two page spread for December with the thicker page for the coloring and the classic monthly calendar. I was disappointed that the back side of the coloring pages was NOT blank, so to color it I could not write anything on it. 

I went in search of a different style for 2017.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Knowing the Date; Seeing the Future

Knowing the Date; Seeing the Future

Photo collage by Midge Frazel, 2016

I am the original "calendar girl". I love seeing the future while writing about the past. Living in the moment is not my style.

Before I moved here in 2010, I cleaned out the box in my basement where the calendars from years past go to die. I spent two hours going through the years 1960 to 2000, taking notes on events in my current journal. The years after that, I carefully folded, put in a plastic bag and brought here to finish the process while relaxing on the porch. I transcribe important events into a small notebook some time on New Year's Day. It is a year in review to see what I and my family need to know. I refer to them constantly. I think this is fun.

The huge calendar lives inside a closet on my first floor. My husband is trained to write his appointments on it. The next one is a perpetual calendar. When I go into my office I change it to the current day. The next one is the "monthly" view of my current planner and the small one next to that hangs on the wall in my office. I highlight holidays and of course, the full moon. For 2017, I am going to highlight these in different colors. Go ahead. Make fun of me. The worst thing that could happen to you is asking me to organize your life. So many begged me to do that and couldn't take it when I did.

The calendar I hate the most is the one in my phone. I still carry a thin 2 year paper calendar in my purse. That's my life in analog. 

I have observed that people do not really understand how to manage the information that calendars hold. I have some hilarious stories to share in the future. 

Keeping a Diary

Keeping a Diary

Photos by Midge Frazel, 2016

Diaries, by their very nature, are a personal and old way of keeping a narrative of life in a particular time period of life. Genealogists know the value of keeping a diary and many have diaries of ancestors and relatives in their bookcases. 

Diaries can be kept daily or whenever the writer feels the need to write. They are usually lined paper, with a sturdy cover and a ribbon for a bookmark. To keep them shut, a simple elastic band is set in the cover to keep the papers inside. The two photos above are diaries that I have in use. To the non diarist, they look the same, except for the color of the cover. I put an orange square over the place in the bottom diary that is for the date in the format month/day/year but you can see that there is plenty of room in the other one for adding that information as the header is wider. You write on a page until you run out of room and start another page.

Diaries are meant to be carried around in a bag, pocket or briefcase. They are freeform and adaptable. In the past, they were predated and were a Christmas stocking stuffer, along with a new pen, to encourage children to observe and write. Adults enjoyed the peace and quiet of children writing in a diary or journal while the adults were occupied with other tasks.

My childhood diary had a lock and key. It keep prying eyes out. 

Blogs are today's diaries. They can be public or private just like their paper counterpart. Many people sketch or draw diagrams, keep records of family events and use them to plan for the future. Facebook and Twitter, and other social media, are a combination of diary and journal. They are for public sharing or thoughts, events and ideas.

Many people use a diary, a journal and a planner together to manage their life.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Journaling the Family Bible

The Family Bible
journaling the information

I am indeed proud to own my grandfather's Family Bible. It's presence in my life marks the first day I became a genealogist at the age of eight. I knew it would be mine someday and the information that it contains has been the firmest tool in my genealogy toolkit. 

I broke the binding photocopying the pages so I could scan them. But, since I am the only person to directly inherit it from my grand father and his daughter, my mother, it is OK.

I have several samples of my 2nd great grandmother's handwriting (and recently was given her childhood essays) and since 1859 is when her oldest child, my great grandfather was born, I think it might have been a gift and she copied all the oldest records she could find. Please read this terrific blog post to learn more about Family Bibles.

What I have NOT done with this is to record the dates of birth, marriage and death in a journal. I have photocopied them, scanned them, archived them and put them in my family tree. 

So, I am going to sit and transcribe them by hand and examine them one by one make sure the information is correct in my database and find out if I have vital records to match. I know there is one vital record that can't be found because it may have been a home birth and not recorded. I keep looking....

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Taking Notes and Keeping Papers

Taking Notes and Keeping Papers

In my new planner system, I will be bullet journaling some of my projects right in my planner. After the planner months, there is 20 double sided pages for "Notes". This will be good for me to have to review before I write. This sold me on this planner because I need to start keeping list of what ancestors I write about. When you blog as long as I have you never remember what you wrote about unless you keep a list.

Section of blank pages

Back pocket and back of back pocket

Monthly Plans

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2016
Monthly Plans

At the very beginning of this planner, there is a year-at-a-glance spread (not shown here). A spread is journal/planner lingo for two pages to look at at a time.  Featured under the year by months is a interesting section to be written in that has the words, "Don't Count the Days, Make the days count". Certainly genealogists can relate to that. 

This is the next page spread after that: it has twelve sections. I will most likely use it for projects to be planned by month. I have two sets of Post-it tabs that are by month or I can use my label maker to mark the section headings. If you go to a lot of conferences you could use it to prepare for that.

Buying a Planner

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2016
Binding and Layout

In the last post, I showed the front of the planner I purchased. The best part of the one I purchased is the heavy laminated front and back covers. Covers are a problem for all things that have paper because they take the beating of being being carried and used. The "cover design" is an insert and can be removed. They take special orders for customizing the photo and monogramming. I didn't want to wait.

The binding is important for all journals and planners. I press down on them to flatten journals out to use them, but a planner needs the flexibility of the spiral layout. Some people have reported that the alternative colors to the platinum spiral have been a problem but the company is taking them back and fixing them. 

With simplicity, this "Monthly Deluxe Planner", rocks. I just need a month view and the sidebar task list/goals so I can quickly see what I must accomplish and to be able to keep track of it.

Hourly layouts are good for those who are charging a client for research or for planning a meeting, so if you need that (I don't) look for that in a different style of planner.

The back side of the monthly view is free-form. The left side has five lined sections. I call that "one a week". I will write the name of my completed posts on the lines and the week of posting. Special notes will go in big lined space on the left and I am going to write more tasks on that page. The back side of the left is blank and I will probably write citations on that.

Don't strain to look at photos. Look at them here:

Planning your Genealogy Journaling

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2016
Planning your Genealogy Journaling Adventure

This upcoming year, I am going to improve on my genealogy in a new way that is really an old way. As I practice project based genealogy, I am going to plan what I write instead of doing it the way I have done it before. This means fewer blog posts but ones with a high energy approach. I've been testing this out at Facebook where I put some quick to read ideas out there and see if that is enough for people who want to read about genealogy from my perspective. 

After learning about bullet journaling, I decided that I needed to return to paper based calendars, diaries and planners. This is how I managed my life before computers. Nothing beats using the computer to write and communicate. Nothing beats using genealogy software to record and understand where your ancestors came from and lived. However, most of us only want to know how that is done and are not very interested in someone else's ancestors unless they are one they share those same people and places. People enjoy my New England gravestones and the methods that I use for finding, analyzing and recording genealogy.  People want to know what works. It is a bullet point way of life. 

I have spent several months setting up my projects. Some I will blog about and some I will not or I will just mention them on Facebook or in my blogs. 

I have test driven several types of journal systems and I have settled on this one. I put away my flat bed scanner to give myself more space in my office. At the end of my work day, I pick up and take just my journal and my notes downstairs and I put them back on my desk when I go to bed. My iPad and my iPhone help me with communication with other genealogists. 

The trio of photos above will show you my new journal system. My personal life has a different system. I am a calendar and diarist by nature. I love planning and order. I don't like keeping all my information in just one place. The biggest danger is losing information whether it be paper or electronic. My journals rarely leave my house. But, if you take anything with you, make sure everything has clearly written directions for for returning it to you if it is lost. 

I have decided that the notebooks I have been using with become my research journals. These are the basics you must think about, whether they are electronic or paper based.

  • Calendar
  • Monthly planner
  • Task list or To-do list
  • Notebooks or Surname Notebooks
  • Research journals