Organizing your genealogy research using microsoft onenote

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Organizing your genealogy research using Microsoft OneNote

This is an article on how to use Microsoft's Office 2007/2010 program Onenote to organize your genealogy research. I have borrowed from Research Compass Description, and Organizing Your Files.The goal is to have your paper files digitized. 

"Unlike paper-based systems, word processing programs, e-mail systems, or other productivity programs, Office OneNote 2007 delivers the flexibility to gather and organize text, pictures, digital handwriting, audio and video recordings, and more — all in one digital notebook on your computer. Office OneNote 2007 can help you become more productive by keeping the information you need at your fingertips and reducing time spent searching for information across e-mail messages, paper notebooks, file folders, and printouts."(Microsoft office site)

OneNote basic components

OneNote is essentially a virtual notebook that includes the same familiar elements as a physical notebook:

  • Workbook - notebooks visible on the left; you can create multiple workbooks and display or hide them
  • Sections- tabs located at the top enable you to add categories for your notebook
  • Grouped sections - located at the top, similar to section dividers in a physical notebook
  • Pages - tabs located to the right that can be used as pages or as additional dividers
  • Subpages - indented pages that can expand/collapse under a page divider

OneNote genealogy templates

The design of OneNote is intuitive and logical. You can master the basic features in a short time and immediately begin to create notebooks for your research. Several blogs and forums contain tips from experienced genealogy users. To get started, first consider the information you want to store in OneNote. This will give you a clue on how to categorize your information. 

My Family History Files ( is an excellent site with a lot of ideas on using OneNote to organize your genealogy research.

You can also check out Cyndi's List for several links at

In addition, here are a few YouTube videos to help visually explain the use of OneNote as a genealogy research tool:

Intro To OneNote For Genealogists by Brian Bouchard at

and Using OneNote for Genealogy Organization by Caroline Pointer at