When I started in genealogy, I thought I was being organized and mindful if I saved a record I discovered to the appropriate folder with an appropriately descriptive file name. But I didn’t abstract those records as I went along. Big mistake. In certain instances, I’m still trying to dig myself out from under a landslide of such unabstracted records just sitting there unrecorded and unanalyzed.
When I begin a particular project now, I automatically start by abstracting (and citing) pertinent records as I find them and chronologizing those abstracts in my master file. I use the slightly awkward word “chronologizing” because I want to highlight the fact that it should be a conscious, active effort; not an accidental by-product.
Chronologizing has at least three significant benefits.
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