Inspiration strikes anywhere. The digital note-taking solution Evernote lets you capture, nurture, and share your ideas across any device.
Some of you might have got a new smart phone or pad/tablet for Christmas. There are a number od useful applications to run on your smart phone/tablet. One of them is the note-taking application Evernote
Before we go on to look at Evernote in relation to genealogy, I want to discuss this software in a general perspective.
I am an old-fashioned notebook kind of guy. When I say notebook I mean the kind made of paper. I used to have several notebooks and tried to always carry with me one of them to take notes of whatever I needed to remember. I still have notebooks, but after I learned about Evernote I am using it for an increasing number of tasks.
I am sorry to say that I have gotten to the point where I always have my cellphone with me. However, it means that whenever I have a few spare minutes, I can kill time by checking mail, taking notes or surfing the internet. If I see something I want to have a closer look at, I can easily save it to my Evernote account and download it to my computer. A number of the articles you read on my blog, has started out as a few keywords saved to Evernote. The great thing about Evernote is that, in addition to note taking, it is easy to save links. Photos, videos and even audio clips, are easily embedded into your notes.
Evernote has three subscription plans. These are Basic, Plus and Premium. The Basic plan is free and let you use Evernote on two devices and gives you 60 MB of upload capacity per month (30days) “to be saved in the sky” (This means that your total storage capacity is unlimited) The maximum note size is 25 MB. The Plus plan costs $ 3,99 a month. It gives you 1 GB of uploads per month and you can run it on as many devices as you like. Max. note size is 50 MB. Here you can access your notebooks off-line and forward e-mails into Evernote. The Premium plan costs $ 7,99 a month and gives you 10 GB of uploads per month in addition to a number of other features. Max. note size is 200 MB (Pricing at the time of writing)
I think that most of us will be satisfied with the Basic plan. However, if you on a regular basis adds a lot of pictures, videos or audio files, you may find the upload and note size capacity to be insufficient.
Evernote in Genealogy
Evernote can be used for a number of purposes in our genealogical work. You can find a lot of information about this on the web.
If you have not yet decided on a genealogy software, (You might want to check out my article Choosing a genealogy software) Evernote can be used to save and organize your initial findings.
The content you add to Evernote is stored in a hierarchy. At the bottom level we have the individual notes. These notes are stored in notebooks. If you want, you can then store a number of notebooks together in stacks. You are, of course, free to give the notes, notebooks and stacks names of your choise. A useful feature in Evernote is the adding of tags. Tags let you add keywords to notes, making them easier to find and browse when you’ve got a lot of them.
Based on this brief description, we can easily see how Evernote, in lack of a genealogy program, can be used to organize a limited amount of genealogical data. I write “limited amount of data” as I think that if you choose to go all in for genealogy, you should get a proper genealogy program.
Also in the data gathering process I think Evernote can be a useful tool. I hinted at this in my article “It is time to clean out the attic”.
On my Android phone and tablet Evernote interact seamlessly with my web-browser making it easy to save websites that I want to have a closer look at. When I take a picture with the cellphone camera, it is easily embedded into a note as Evernote comes up as an alternative in the same menu as your other sharing options. I have no experience with Iphones/Ipads, but I imagine that it works in a similar way. This feature makes it easy to take a picture of a location or artifact and add notes about the details.
On my computer I have installed the an extension to my Google Chrome web-browser called “Web Clipper”. This extension gives me several features to easily save webpages to Evernote.
I have linked a few book suggestions below. These books are fairly basic and if you are already familiar with Evernote, you might not find all that much new information. Kerry Scott’s book do contain some interesting examples of how you can use this software in relation to genealogy. This book is a bit more in-depth than the others.
I want to point out that I have no affiliation with Evernote. I receive no compensation in any form for writing this.