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Keith's simple written record system

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I will start this thread by detailing what I think is the best way to get started (assuming that you have never done this before). The real essence to this work is to establish a simple system which, when put to use, follows exactly the same routine every time you find a record. I am starting this way because it is important to establish a routine

By following the same routine all the time, your record keeping will become second nature and you will always know where you are up to. My system is so closely interleaved with the method of information gathering that I feel it necessary to cover both aspects at the same time. Please forgive me if what I write is already obvious to you.

Two pieces of advice (and I know that some people won\'t follow them).

1) Restrict your researches to one family name at a time. Any more than that and you can start to become blitzed by information and lose your place.

2) When you go somewhere like the library to check St Catherine\'s House indexes, or to a church to view Parish Registers, the following rules are a must to follow:
a) NEVER take a pen. Always use a pencil.
b) Do NOT eat or drink whilst working on the records. If you must have a drink etc., ask if it will be alright for you to take a break. And go outside to do so.

What do you need?

1) You will need a couple of A4 ring binders (at least)

2) You will need a supply of narrow ruled A4 refill pads. They must be narrow ruled and punched so they can go in the binders. Narrow ruled is important because you will need all the lines you can possibly get. Ruled because they will help you keep your writing in straight, neat lines.

3) You will need a couple of boxes of hole reinforcing rings. You must apply these to the holes in your A4 sheets before you put them into your binder. They will prevent the pages from ripping loose over time. Putting them on one side only is quite enough.

4) You will need a box of student wallets - plastic holders that you can put things such as certificates and photos in. These can go in your main file, or in a separate binder of their own. Keep all dated documents in chronological order.

5) You will need a supply of pencils - HB is best. You may be tempted to get some erasers. A word of warning, do not use erasers for any reason whilst you are looking through records. They leave bits all over the place, no matter how careful you are to clean up.

6) You will need a reporters notebook. Something you can carry in your pocket, ready to write down such things as monumental inscriptions. Or, to make notes on ideas you may have. If you do have any ideas, write them in your notebook immediately.

7) It would also be handy to have a camera so that you can photograph such things as gravestones, or (with the permission of the current occupant) to photograph a house where one of your family used to live.

That\'s it. That is really all you need.

Remember, never carry pens. Never mark any paper records you may be looking at. No eating, drinking or smoking at your workstation. Leave the workstation clean and tidy when you leave.

Have fun.

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