White books with title how to include research notes in family histories
Organizing Genealogy Research,  Writing Family History,  YouTube

How to Add Genealogy Research Notes in a Book?

The internet is filled with great content that can help us laugh, learn, and so much more, but I have wondered if it were possible to follow blogs and YouTube videos in one place. Yes! Feedly is the answer.

In this video, I show you how to find the RSS Feed URL for a YouTube channel, such as Family History Fanatics, and how you can add that link to a feed reader, such as Feedly.

Soon you’ll be able to access your favorite blogs and YouTube videos from one place! This is a life-hack that you’ll be thrilled to use.

What is the purpose of a genealogy research log?

While developing my genealogy research skills, I often said, “why do I need a research log?” According to Family Tree Magazine,a genealogy research logs help you keep track of your citations and information, including your thoughts and theories.” A genealogy research log serves you best when you are gathering information

Additionally, genealogy research logs funnel into other assets such as:

  • client reports
  • journal articles
  • register style family histories
  • biographical sketches
  • narrative stories  
  • cited group sheets and pedigree charts

In this video, I discuss why you don’t need genealogy research logs in modern genealogy. (Watch Now)

However, if you do have genealogy research logs, should you publish your chart of notes in a genealogy book?

How to Include Research Notes in a Published Genealogy Without Including a Research Log

Should you publish your genealogy research log in a family history book?

No. You should not publish a genealogy research log in a book. Research logs are tools exclusively for your use, not for publication.

Would you ever publish an outline for a book?

Although the table of contents often resembles and outline, the answer is no. You wouldn’t include an outline in a book as it’s only a tool used to write your book.

Thus, don’t publish your research notes. Instead, follow these suggestions.

How to include genealogy research notes in a book?

There are TWO ways I have included my research information depending on the focus of my story. 

For Books Featuring Recent Ancestors, follow these steps:

  • Write the story.
  • Use in-text superscript notations that reference a citation in chapter endnotes.
  • Use footnotes for:
    • additional explanations that you don’t want to include in the story but might benefit the reader.
    • items that need further explanations. 
    • unresolved questions.
  • Insert visual elements such as photos, newspaper clippings, and documents with
    • Chicago Style sources underneath
    • exclude these citations from chapter endnotes

Following these strategies, you eliminate the need to publish a genealogy research log in your book. Everything that would have appeared on the log is sprinkled throughout the book.

For Books Featuring Distant Ancestors, follow these steps:

Since distant relatives rely on genealogical research and methodology, divide your story into two sections.

  1. The Story
  2. The Appendix 

The Story section repeats all the elements of the Recent Ancestors (see above) regarding citations, endnotes, footnotes, and visual elements.

THE DIFFERENCE is the Appendix

This is my RESEARCH REPORT / NOTES section, where I discuss

  • Research trails
  • Conflicting evidence
  • Unresolved questions 
  • Deadends

Do not include a research log because your written explanations are far more valuable.

It’s that simple. Do not publish your research log, but instead focus on writing your story and adding citations and commentary in the appropriate places.

Open book with caption how to include research notes in published family histories - Writing family histories

For Additional Writing Tips

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

Share your thoughts on this post

%d bloggers like this: