Family historians are faced with a never ending flow of data and material, there are now so many sources to cite it can become overwhelming. The free tool Evernote could help.

Whilst trying to unravel and de-mystify some of the technology available on the internet and show how useful they are for family historians as part of an IT toolkit, we wrote a post on the Family Historian and Cloud Computing.

We suggested trying out a number of different systems, one of these being ‘Evernote’

What is Evernote?

  • Evernote is another clever application that can store your data in the clouds and synchronize it with other PC’s and laptops but it is different from Dropbox.
  • Dropbox is brilliant for storing and sharing files whereas Evernote is a supremely clever note filing system, it’s main focus being to collect, organize & retrieve information.

I have to be honest and say that at first, I couldn’t see the point in using Evernote for family history, it seemed to me I already had systems that meant I could store, retrieve and share things in the cloud (Dropbox). I could use bookmarks to mark up, etc etc.

I was wrong because I did not understand that the critical feature of Evernote is in it’s searching ability.

You have in front of you, what is effectively a notebook, into which you can capture or write data BUT and this is the crucial point, you can then tag these captured / written notes and then retrieve them using these tags.

For family historians this becomes a very powerful tool indeed.

  • Each piece of data is tagged and against each tag there is a number and this tells you how many clips have got this tag.
  • You can capture a section of a screen as a clip in Evernote or an image and tag this or copy and paste useful text and tag this.
  • When working on research it becomes the most useful tool for grabbing data, tagging it and then later, having all that tagged research in one place, to explore later.

Use it for your IPhone/IPad/IPod Touch

At Intriguing Family History, our approach to family history is to make connections across a vast array of disparate material, which initially seems unconnected. Tagging data in the way that Evernote does seems to be an excellent approach of bringing together research data that you are as yet uncertain how it connects.

It is a far faster, easier, more efficient way to store and organize all my data, regardless of type, which could be text, video, audio, web sites or PDF

I think I am right in saying that no other system will allow you to search the words in your picture and text and it also creates a searchable index of your text but I still need to get my head around this one.

As far as we can see Evernote fulfills a totally different role to the other systems that also sync your data to the cloud. It’s free unless you upgrade to the premium which gives you bigger upload and sharing capacity etc.

So, take the plunge and give Evernote a good go, play with it and see how your research can be used to create new intriguing connections….