Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Three Ring Notebook

The problem with asking so many questions is that you have to do something with the answers. How do I remember them? For that fact, do I want to remember them? For the true genealogist, documentation becomes a major activity or a major frustration depending on how good you are at keeping score. Having a very large family has its advantage, especially at Christmas time, but it also adds to the task of recording the families' history! When I started writing things down, there were no computers, very few cameras, and even fewer folks who had an interest in helping. Let's see, where to begin?

I thought the first place would be to build a family tree. Hum...I would be number 1, my folks number 2, my grandparents number 3,, no, there would be 4 grandparents, then 8 great grandparents, 16 great-great-grandparents, then 32, 64, 128, 264.... man - o - man, what a mess. It would certainly be easier to forget the whole thing. Somehow I could not let it drop. It must have been that infection everyone who does genealogy recognizes : "The sicker you get, the more to like it." At any rate, I began by drawing lines on a blank sheet of typing paper turned side ways. One straight line, a branch to two straight lines, branch to four straight lines,... etc. etc., ... It did not take long before I taped a second sheet to the first, drawing lines and branches, taping more sheets to this. I then asked myself, what did I know? I started adding the names to the lines on the pages one by one. It soon became clear that I really did not know a whole lot! Some names, very few dates, and very little about their lives. Who were they really?
Wow, I had a lot to learn. I folded my taped what? A notebook I thought! I will put everything together in a notebook. Typing paper turned on its side does not fit a three ring notebook! Oh man! I will have to start over with larger pieces of paper! I started to laugh, a little better planning would be needed in the future for my three ring notebook. As I write this blog, I now have in my genealogy library more than 250 three ring notebooks!


  1. That is a lot of them. Thanks for sharing! We look forward to more of these insights from your research...

    Welcome to the Geneabloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "Back to the Homeplace"
    and "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"

  2. Thanks Dr. Bill. It appears that you have done a lot to tell your own family stories. It is good to know that I am not the only infected person out there!

  3. Just started a new blog on the content of all my three ring notebooks. This will give you an idea of how all this got started and organized. It is called The Jones Genealogist Research Notebooks. You can search the content to see if any topic/subject might be helpful.

  4. The blog which documents my research notebooks: