Genealogy involves a lot of paperwork--charts, graphs, tables, diagrams, and all kinds of things you end up keeping and stashing way. Personally, I prefer to keep all of my work as digital as possible because it takes up a lot less space and I can make identical copies of everything I need. What my husband spends over an hour doing on paper, I can get to print for me in 10 seconds.

But switching between windows on a laptop screen can be so awful while I'm trying to research. And since I keep all of my data on the web, whenever I'm without internet means that I cannot work. Between my phone, my computer, and my Kindle you would think this would never be an issue, but anything can still happen.

All of this has brought me to the realization that paper records really wouldn't be such a bad thing. But if I'm going to invest the time in drafting paper copies of my research, I'm going to get EXACTLY what I want. So my husband taught me how to make forms for Microsoft Word, and I created a custom family group record that has everything I wanted on it.

The top section is for document and source tracking. I fill in each line for all of the members of a family, then write in all of the source documentation I have for each person. Using brief key phrases under each column, I can know at a glance what I have already found for each person. For example, under Death I would type in Obit for obituary, or SSDI for the Social Security Death Index.  In the Census section, I'll put the last two digits of the census year so I can see when different family members appeared on each census.

The next section is for census tracking. I put the year, the county and state so I can keep track of how the family moved from place to place. In the notes section, I can remind myself anything important about that particular census--if the family appears on two pages, or to differentiate when I have two different census copies from the same year.

Beyond these sections, it functions as a standard family group record, complete with check boxes for LDS ordinances. Note:
  • B/C is Baptism/Confirmation
  • Ini is Initiatory
  • End is Endowment
  • StP is Sealed to Parents
  • StS is Sealed to Spouse
This document isn't just one you can print, you can type all of your information into the proper spaces and print it out once you've finished. I have it set up with all edits restricted excepted the forms themselves, so you don't have to worry about deleting anything other than what you have filled in. If you want to make other changes, you can disable the restricted edits (there is no password) and make whatever kind of modifications you would like.

You can find the document here. Simply download the form and you can try it out for yourself.

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