Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - use FREE Genealogy Forms to Organize your Search

Randy Seaver writes in his blog about using free forms to organise research Genea-Musings: Tuesday's Tip - use FREE Genealogy Forms to Organize your Search

There are several websites with FREE genealogy forms available. for instance:

* Family Tree Magazine ( has many different types of forms - including a research calendar, note-taking, online database tracker, repository checklist, research worksheet, correspondence log, article reading list, book reading list, and a book wish list.

and goes on to say

I tend to create my own form in my word processor by using the good ideas of others and adapt them to my needs. In a word processor, I am not limited to a set form length and can add content to whichever field I choose.

I'll add that I go one step further, and instead of using a word processor for that purpose, I use the askSam freeform database.

askSam (Access Stored Knowledge via Symbolic Access Method) lets you create a variety of forms for entering information into a database, but, unlike a word processor, it also lets you search and create reports from them. Well, OK, you can search in a word-processor document, but askSam searches are much more versatile. And you can use askSam to link and organise word-processor documents.

So when I go to the archives to do my research, I make my notes in askSam, and that makes it easy for me to find the notes I've made about particular people or families, and to produce reports on them. This is much more useful than printing paper forms from PDF files, and then forgetting where you've filed the forms that you've filled in.

And no, I'm not employed by askSam to plug their products. I'm just a satisfied user. I've been using askSam for 20 years now to keep track of my research, and I still haven't plumbed the depths of the capabilities of the DOS version that I first started with, much less the latest Windows version (unfortunately there are no plans for Linux or Mac versions).

Among other things I use it for recording tombstone inscriptions, with a photo of the tombstone, a transcription of the inscription, and research notes on it. This makes it easy to find all inscriptions relating to a particular family, or a particular place, sorted in name or date order, if you like.

I'd be interested to know of other genealogists who use askSam -- perhaps we could devise a way of sharing ideas and templates that could help us to make better use of it.

If you haven't heard of askSam before, have a look at their web page, and see if you think it might be useful to you. It can be used for all kinds of research, not just genealogical. I use it for storing notes on books on all kinds of topics, keeping addresses, keeping track of correspondence, phone calls, and all sorts of other things.

1 comment:

Cathy said...

Contents are valuable information that is interesting, clear and logical. Thanks for sharing genealogy forms.