Library Log


The Genealogy Timeline

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Library Log


The Best Way to Organize Your Files!



One of the early lessons we learned while working on our family history is that we cannot remember everything.  After a while, we found ourselves reviewing the same source over again at different libraries or archives.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a concise list of the sources we have reviewed?  Especially those sources we have already reviewed, but that did not contain relevant information?


Another early lesson we learned is just how quickly we can accumulate a mountain of information - our documents can get out of control very quickly!


The Genealogy Timeline not only keeps track of your ancestors’ lives, but also keeps track of your sources.  The Library Log is where you record the information about the documents you have reviewed and provides a complete system that, when used, will keep you organized from beginning to end.  You can follow the complete Library Log System or incorporate the parts you like.




The Library Log shows a document that was copied at the North Carolina State Library on April 23rd.  We can tell a copy of the document was made, and (because the "Filed" field indicates "filed") the information has been entered in the Timeline and the document is filed in the folder labeled Tax – NC.  The "Source Type" field indicates the name on the label on your file folder.  If you organize your files by family name instead of by the type of record, this field would indicate the family name.



Field Descriptions



Entries for the Library field are selected from the List of Libraries.  The field will accept more information than what is viewable.  You can add to the List of Libraries by clicking on the button marked "Libraries" at the bottom of the Library Log screen.



Date Reviewed

The date entered in this field is the actual date you collected this document.  Entries are typed in this field using the format: mm/dd/yyyy.  While the date displays a two-digit year, it is entered as a four-digit year.




The Filed field indicates the status of the document.  Used in conjunction with the Source Type field, you will always know where your documents are located.


Entries are selected from a List that currently includes “filed” and “none”.


Leave the field blank if you copied the document, but have not filed it away.  Select “none” if the document you are recording had no relevant information and you did not make copies or notes.  (These will be listed on the form Blank Library Log and explained in the Library Log System.)  Once you have filed a document, select “filed”.


If you are working on your family history with another person and they borrow your documents, you can add their initials to this List and mark the documents they have borrowed.




Entries are typed in this field and the field will hold more information that what is viewable.  It is best to be consistent when entering Titles, particularly when you are recording a series of several volumes.  You will want to be sure the Title appears in alphabetical order on the List of Titles in the Timeline screen for easy selection when citing the sources for your Timeline entries.  And you will also want your Source Titles in alphabetical order on the Library Log - List of Titles Report for easy reference while at the Library.




Entries are typed in these fields.  If you are entering the name of a society as author, use the Last name field for the society’s entire name.




Entries for the Media field are selected from the List of Media.  This field can be left blank.



Source Type

Entries for the Source Type field are selected from the List of Source Types.  The Source Type you select should match the label on the file folder where you plan to file this document.  Source Types can be such things as "land records", "tax", "cemeteries" - or your various family names.  What you use as a Source Type depends on how you want to organize your files.




Entries for the Results field are selected from the List of Results.  Selections include:

Copies Made, Made Notes, None, Own.



Call Number

Entries are typed in this field.  The field can be left blank.  You can also record a web address if your source is from the Internet.



Date and Location Table

You can classify the dates and locations that your document covers by entering information in the Date and Location table.  If you plan to file your documents by State as a sub-category of the Source Type, then you must include a State selection in this table.  The fields for State, County, and Country are selected from a List.  The Dates, City, and Twp/District fields are typed.



The Library Log System


The Library Log System was developed over several years based on numerous trips to various libraries, archives and courthouses.  This system works especially well when more that one person is working on gathering data.  We have visited many libraries with a team of 3-4 people and found that without the Library Log System, it can be difficult to keep everyone going in the same direction.



Preparing for a Library Trip

 In order to know what you have already reviewed, print the Report:  Library Log – List of Titles.  You can print the Report with all Titles, or if you will be working on records from a specific State, print the Report for that particular State.


Print several copies of the Report: Blank Library Log.  This will be used to log in each of the documents (including those that have no pertinent information) that you review on your research trip.



While at the Library

 Refer to the Library Log – List of Titles as you gather your materials.  This will prevent you from reviewing the documents you have already reviewed on previous trips.


 As you review documents at the library, log them in on the Blank Library Log, indicating whether you made copies, made notes, or whether no information was found.



When You Return Home

The first thing you want to do is bundle your information together by day.  Pocket file folders are excellent for this as they secure all your day’s documents and you can label the front with the library name and the date you collected the information.  Be sure and include that day’s Log in the folder.


If you are on an extended trip and spend several days in libraries, make a separate folder for each day.



Recording Your Sources

As soon as you possibly can after returning home, enter your Sources in the Library Log so that if you visit the library again before you have done your Timeline entries, you will be assured the Library Log – List of Titles report is up to date for your next trip.  Remember to enter the Sources that you reviewed, but contained no information, from the Log you kept while at the library so that you will not waste time reviewing these documents again in the future.  After entering your Sources in the Library Log, you can print a summary report of the documents you gathered for that day.



Storing Your Documents

Using the pocket folders you made for each day at the library, store each day’s documents along with the summary you just printed.  The summary, Library Log – to Proof Sources, will list only those documents you copied or made notes on at the library - the information that needs to be entered in the Timeline!


Store your pocket folders together in date order.  Should you need to find a document, open the Library Log and display that particular document’s record.  If the Filed field is blank, you will know the document is in a pocket folder.  Look at the Date Reviewed field – this will tell you which pocket folder the document is in.  When you pull the pocket folder, you can quickly scan down the Library Log – to Proof Sources to verify the document is in that folder.



Timeline Entries

As you work through each pocket folder, entering your information in the Timeline, it is recommended you check off that Title on the Library Log – to Proof Sources to indicate that document is recorded.


And, it is recommended you mark the cover of the document as being entered in the Timeline.  (All my cover pages are marked: Lib Log or TL as I either enter the information in the Library Log and the Timeline.)



Filing Your Documents

Once you have finished entering your information in the Timeline (and your genealogy program), you are ready to file your documents.

Print the Report:    Master List for Files  (alphabetical index)

Text Box:

This report lists all of your documents in alphabetical order.  Note that numbers sort first.  The Report will tell you in what folder to file the document, based on the selection you made in the Source Type field in the Library Log.  If you sub-categorize your files by State, the Report will indicate which State folder to use.  In the example, the first three documents are in pocket folders and not filed yet.  The last document is labeled “filed” so we know it is in the file folder labeled “Tax – NC”.




Up Timeline Library Log Reports

Blank Library Log ] Library Log - List of Titles ]

 For more information, contact:

Computer Management Corporation of The South

Mary P. Parker, President & CEO

2436 Kathi Kim Street, Cocoa, FL 32926


Phone:  321-632-6766                    Fax:  321-638-4223

Copyright 2001 Computer Management Corporation of The South

The Genealogy Timeline © 1999 Computer Management Corporation of The South

Write Your Life Story! © 2001 Computer Management Corporation of The South


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