Here are a variety of tips and ideas for helping to make Evernote easier to use and to make it a great genealogical research tool.
- Create an entry in your e-mail contacts/address book for your Evernote e-mail address. This makes it that much quicker to forward important messages from your e-mail to Evernote.
- Setting up notebooks and choosing option settings both tend to be much easier from the desktop version than from the web or other devices. So, I do all my setup and administration on the desktop.
- Be aware that the different versions of Evernote all have the same basic functionality, but they may behave different from one another based on the operating systems: desktop, iOS, Android, and web-based.
- Create Shortcuts to specific notebooks that you use more often than others. These get put at the top of the list on the left, so they are easier to get to. Right-click on the notebook and add the shortcut.
- Create a notebook named "_Inbox" with the underscore up front to guarantee that this notebook will be listed at the top. Make _Inbox your default notebook. Then all notes that are e-mailed to Evernote or clipped to Evernote without being filed or tagged will show up in the _Inbox for you to properly administer later.
- To make a notebook your default notebook:
- In the web version, right-click on the notebook and choose "Properties" and then "Make this my default notebook."
- In the desktop version, right click on the notebook, choose "Notebook Settings" and then "Make this my default notebook."
- Create a notebook for "Templates" and store some prepared blank templates for various research processes. When you start a new research process for a person in your family history, copy the template into the appropriate notebook and customize it as needed. In my setup I call mine "_Templates" with the underscore in front so that the notebook appears near the top of the list like the "_Inbox" notebook does. I have created some templates in Evernote to share with all of you. Feel free to use these for your personal research:
- Cyndi's Records Checklist Template
- Cyndi's Routine Records Sources
- Cyndi's Simple Research Plan Template
- Cyndi's Research Plan Template
- Cyndi's Cousin Index Template
- Cyndi's Timeline Template
- Cyndi's Records Checklist Template
- Set up notebooks as recommended in Evernote Notebooks = Your Filing System
- For each surname
- For each one-place study
- For volunteer projects
- For conferences, seminars, and other genealogical education
- For research you do for others (friends or clients)
- Create tags for those every day things you might need reminders about:
- To Read
- To Buy
- To Research
- To Call
- File and tag notes as they come in. Don't let them pile up the way you let all that paper pile up on your desk. Yes, I know what your desk looks like.
- Create notes with pre-written queries or replies about specific ancestors. Store them in each surname notebook. The pre-written text can easily be copied and pasted when participating in e-mail, mailing lists, message boards, or social networking.
- Within each appropriate surname notebook, create a note with a list of all the cousins you have met online. Include their name, e-mail address, contact information, and their relationship within that family. Keep a log of your correspondence with these cousins, including any trading of information, photos, files, and documents between you. See Cyndi's Cousin Index Template - http://goo.gl/tu65pC
- Create a notebook for your DNA testing. Inside that notes for:
- Each DNA kit's registration information, kit number, login ID & password, name of person tested
- DNA matches found, including all contact information
- Create a notebook for your Unidentified Photos. Inside that, notes for each photo. The notebook and/or notes can be shared publicly in social networking forums to gain help identifying the people in the photo.
- Within each surname or one-place study notebook, create a Table of Contents note that points to all of the other notes within. A TOC can be created in the web version by right-clicking on a note, choosing Copy Note Link, then pasting the link into a new, blank TOC note, one at a time. In the Evernote desktop versions you can select a whole batch of notes and then right click and create the TOC all at once. Obviously, this is easier and preferable. The TOC list can also contain checkboxes so that it can be used as a to-do list if you like.
- Create a "To Do" note in each surname or place name notebook. Use the checkboxes to keep track of which items you complete. The To Do list for each notebook will be different depending on where you are with your research.
- You can copy and paste from web sites or other documents into Evernote, but the formatting will always come with it. To paste as plain text and remove formatting use Ctrl+Shift+V. A regular paste is Ctrl+V. There is also an "eraser" icon on the formatting toolbar that will remove formatting after the fact.
- For those of you who publish your own web sites, Evernote can be used to store snippets of code and other notes pertaining to maintaining your site. Bloggers can use it to plan their blog posts.