Saturday, July 20, 2013

Using Evernote, OneNote and askSam for genealogy

Evernote, askSam and OneNote are notetaking programs that allow you to organise the kind of miscellaneous information that one collects in genealogical research -- the kind of information that makes you say to yourself, "I don't know where this fits in, but I'll make a note of it in case I need it later. The trouble is that when you need it later, you can't remember where you put it.

These notetaking programs help you to store such information, and to find it again.

Since I blogged about this a couple of weeks ago, I've noticed that a lot of other people also seemed to be blogging about it, and so I thought I would list some of the useful blog posts I've found, thus reverting to the original purpose and meaning of a blog, a weB log of web sites one has visited and found useful.

I've been using askSam for more than 20 years, beginning with the DOS version, and I still use the DOS version (though I have the Windows version as well). It is powerful and has the advantage of being both a structured and an unstructured database at the same time. But you have to buy it. If yoi want to know more, see the askSam website here.

If you have Microsoft Office, however, you probably have OneNote as part of the bundle, so then you don't have to go out and buy it.

And Evernote is free, unless you become really addicted and start adding more than 60 Mb of data a month. Then you can get a paid version that does more.If you would like to try it, see the Evernote web site here.

So how do you use these programs for genealogy? Here are some links with useful tips:


  • Genealogy Insider - Using Evernote to Organize My Genealogy Research: My former method of genealogy research organization was to email myself notes and records, or use notekeeping gadgets on my iGoogle page. But with the emails getting buried in my in-box and the impending retirement of iGoogle, I wasn't very organized. Then I started hearing more about the Evernote web clipper and note-taker, and we began planning an Evernote for genealogists webinar with Lisa Louise Cooke (it's July 25—more details below).
  • How to Use Evernote for Genealogical Research | Evernote Blog Evernote Blog: I use Evernote to capture documents, images, and PDFs I find online, and later add descriptive notes to these pieces of information. Serious genealogists try to keep a record of everything they find, even if it’s full of lies and conjecture. (For example, if you suspect that a document might be fraudulent or inaccurate, you can make a note of it. If you come across it again, you will know that you already saw and evaluated it.) Using Evernote, you can add your own notes, questions, and task boxes to the images of records you find in your research.
  • Evernote: Your Virtual Genealogy Assistant | Thomas MacEntee: Evernote is a genealogy researcher's best friend and one of the best tools you can use to capture almost anything. This means not just items found online, but also images, documents and more! The best way to understand Evernote features is to imagine having your own personal assistant, but one that is virtual (meaning they cost practically nothing and never call in sick or complain about the workload!).
  • Genealogy Class - Evernote for Genealogists: clip sources anywhere & organize in the cloud - Rootfinders Genealogy Research: “Evernote” is a program or app that synchs notes, pictures, audio, and pdfs from many devices including PCs Macs, iPhones, iPads, Android Phones, tablets and Kindle Fire. How can we use it for genealogy? Snap a photo of Uncle Pete’s headstone with your phone at the cemetery. Scan a document to the laptop at the library. Record the story Great Aunt Martha told in the car. Clip an article from the web. Then tag and store them all in Evernote. When you get home, they’ll all be synched to all your devices and computers. You can share notebooks with others. And if any of your devices crash or get lost, your notes are still safe in the cloud with Evernote.
  • UpFront with NGS: Evernote -- is it part of your genealogical arsenal? Should it be?: Thomas MacEntee (High-Definition Genealogy) recently posted on Facebook a link to the Beginner’s Guide to Evernote and he has an article at, Evernote: Your Virtual Genealogy Assistant. So, if you’ve been dilly-dallying about trying Evernote (cough – this author falls into that category), you may have run out of excuses ... 
  • Anglo-Boer War photos | Hayes & Greene family history: I’m quite chuffed with Evernote. It can do lots of different things, but one of the things it excels at is compiling a digital photo album.

Or just Google for "Evernote genealogy"


  • Research Planning Using OneNote & Evernote - Try It! | The In-Depth Genealogist: Family history researchers are constantly planning their next research move. Whether you realize it or not, you probably are using some form of a research plan in your genealogical endeavors. Perhaps you do it the old fashioned way using pencil and paper to compile a “to do list.” Maybe you use a word processor to write a formal research plan or an electronic spreadsheet to organize your look-ups for your next trip to the Family History Library. The options for which tool you use to prepare a research plan are numerous. Lately, I’ve become fond of two relatively new tools: Microsoft’s OneNote and Evernote.
  • The Paperless Genealogist: Introduction To OneNote For Genealogists: Well, I've started using Microsoft's OneNote to organize my digital files, and I realized as I started that there a lot of videos and "How To" articles on the internet about organizing your genealogy, but most of them assume you are dealing with stacks of paper, which of course, I am trying to avoid. So, after a little bit of use, I put together this "Introduction To OneNote For Genealogists" video.
As I noted in an earlier blog post, I tend to prefer Evernote to OneNote because there's more documentation available and it's more explicit. Most of the stuff on OneNote seems to be in the form of videos, and when it comes to learning to use software, I'm a verbal type -- I like the instructions to be in words I can read and refer to while I'm using the software. 


Unfortunately nobody seems to have written much about how they use askSam for genealogy, other than me, that is.

So if you, or someone you know, is using askSam for genealogy, I'd love to hear from them.

1 comment:

telekasem said...

This is all in one application. With this application you can perform a variety of activities such as, making video, voice, audio, text and connecting with other devices. This application is quite useful to me as long as I use it.