One of my organizational tips is for everything to have a place… no more sticky notes and scraps of paper. For genealogy, I have something that I affectionately call my “cousins notebook.”
It looks like this… it is a portable notebook from Daytimer called the Malibu refillable journal. There is a lined page version and a plain page version. But any notebook will do!
There are many types of lists and contacts housed in this notebook. When I see a website, hear a speaker, or receive an email about something new, I track helpful websites, particularly if I have to wait to look at it and find it later.
I keep track of newly found cousins. I note which line of the family, Ancestry user name, family tree name, and I also track here whether I have shared my private family tree with them. I keep track of DNA matches as well.
Sometimes I find family trees that I want to look at later, so I note that.
In addition to the hand-written notes to myself, I also have some lists that I use and update. I have a list for each person who has been DNA-tested. I have a ready-made copy and paste list of surnames for when I correspond with DNA matches.
Something that I track in this notebook are the names that have “google alerts” set for surnames and the surname message boards that I have added to my aggregator, Feedly. If you need more information about Feedly, I have other posts about how to use it and set it up to streamline your genealogy sources, blogs, and surname message boards.
I have a list of the maps that I have collected for my research trips (and the ones I want to collect next).
If you belong to RootsWeb groups, this notebook is a great place to track which groups are feeding into your email. I also update this list occasionally, removing groups that aren’t active anymore and adding new groups as my search expands.
The final list that I track and update in my cousins notebook is my society memberships, the cost, and the renewal dates.
One of the best ways to clear your desk is to have a “go to” place for those notes and scraps of paper! Get a notebook and get organized!!