Last week I was looking at some of the “New Genealogy Blogs” highlighted by the GeneaBloggers blog.
The first post on one of the new blogs; Krista’s “The Great Ancestor Dig”, was all about how she uses the Evernote App for her genealogy research. She also linked to Colleen Greene’s website which has a series of posts about using Evernote for Genealogy. I was interested in this idea. I’ve used Evernote a little over the last couple of years, but hadn’t thought of using it particularly for genealogy before!
I have been thinking a little, recently, about upgrading my genealogy software. I currently have a very old version of Family Tree Maker. Partly with a trip to Scotland in the summer in my mind, I want something which will work on both Windows PC, and Android tablet/phone, and be accessible off-line, but which won’t automatically publish everything publicly on-line! I’ve looked at a few programs, and downloaded a couple of free trial versions. But nothing has yet struck me as being quite right!
So as a result of Krista’s blog post, I began to have a look at how I might use Evernote (or other similar note-taking apps) for this purpose. There is a wealth of material, articles, etc, out there about how people use apps like this for their genealogy. I soon found that Evernote wasn’t quite right for me, due to the use of its free account being limited to 2 devices! I might want to use it on 3 devices! But looking at the alternatives, I soon found that Evernote’s main competitor, Microsoft’s OneNote might work for me. I would normally prefer the independent, open-source option! But the limits placed on using a free Evernote account drove me towards OneNote!
There is just as much online about people using OneNote for genealogy as there is about using Evernote. One great list of various articles is www.CyndisList.com/organizing/onenote/. I went through a number of the articles there, and decided to give OneNote a try. So I’ve just started putting some of my genealogy notes into OneNote notes.
I hunted online for any templates that I could use, to help me get started. And while I picked up a number of useful ideas (from advocates of both Apps), I didn’t find any template that I thought was quite right for me! I joined the “OneNote for Genealogy” Facebook group, hoping to find lots more ideas and advice about how to use the App. But I was disappointed by the relative lack of activity in that group!
So that means that for now, I’m starting with OneNote from scratch and trying to work out my own way of using it, incorporating some of the useful ideas that I’ve read about. How I use it will no doubt evolve and change over time, and at some point, when its more developed, I’ll try to write something more about how I use OneNote, and how I organise my genealogy notes with it.
4 thoughts on “Using Note Apps for Genealogy”
I am glad that you were able to find a program that may work for you! I know everyone has their own preferences. I am all for Evernote but my husband prefers Onenote for work. Have a great day!
Thank you. Your post certainly inspired me to look at these note apps. I would have gone with Evernote were it not for their recently introduced limit of only being able to sync a free account on 2 devices!
I have been using OneNote and Family Tree Maker for many years. I have recently decided to move to digital filing rather than having paper files. I back up on my hard drive plus external drives and the cloud and i am storing a copy of any document on my hard drive via a naming protocol rather than just in proprietry software. Under this method i can retrieve any doc quickly and my risk is reduced because i have docs in my system. How did you set up your Onenote system?
I’ve not gotten on with using OneNote! See my follow-up blog-post here; https://afamilyhistoryblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/using-note-apps-for-genealogy-follow-up/