Saturday, October 16, 2010

Genealogist's Tool Kit

Every genealogist, whether you're experienced or new, need a few things to assist in their research efforts. Here are some of the things I've utilized in my research that I found helpful. Hopefully you will too.

1. A netbook or laptop In this electronic age more and more records are becoming available online, people are exchanging information and uploading documents and other records. Additionally, a netbook is just the right and weight size for taking with you during travel to the archives, library or out in the field. Most netbooks start at around $300.

2. Digital Camera Keeping with technology, a digital camera is a must have. A digital camera allows you to take photos of records, objects, other photos and various items with minimal damage and a large amount of memory. Most cameras have an SD card slot, which adds to the memory capability of a camera. A camera with photo capability of 10 Megapixels and higher is what I recommend to get a decent quality photo.

3. Digital Voice recorder Another technological tool that I've found useful is my digital voice recorder. I use it for recording interviews that can be reviewed later to get research clues and in the case of my recorder I can upload recordings onto my netbook. They can also be used to make quick notes to yourself about your research. Not everyone may be comfortable with that technology, so any sort of small recording device will do.

4. Portable Scanner For some researchers this is a luxury item. But as with all the tools I'm discussing today, it can serve a useful purpose. For people who are dealing with a lot of photographs and documents that may be held by a private person, this is an ideal tool for making copies of items without removing them from the owner's watchful eye. Additionally information is quickly uploaded to your laptop/netbook, maximizing your time spent out and about doing field research.

Just a few other tools that are old school, but can serve a purpose too. A small memo pad for jotting down quick notes, a pencil and pen, a small cache of business cards with your basic contact information on them (this is good for networking with people in historical societies, archives, Clerk's offices, etc.), a day planner or binder and an open mind!

Do you have a special tool that you use in your genealogical research? Please share!

Family Griot