Genealogists do a great deal of work digitally. The plethora of digital images of records certainly has made research easier than it was in the past–both in terms of accessing records, sharing them, and storing them. But there still may be times (at least for me) where using paper makes it easier to understand things, “lay things out,” or otherwise help with visualization.

It’s not just official records, relationship charts, and other charts that I sometimes like to use in paper form. Maps are another research tool that I sometimes like to print out and mark up with additional information–location of key events or key places. I have digital copies of these maps without my markings, but sometimes marking things on a piece of paper helps me to visualize the distances and geographic relationships. I always take pictures of any “marked-up” map with my notes and comments so that I have it later.

I also like to print out the occasional image of a record and take notes on it and highlight key features.

It’s nice not to have to have paper copies of everything. It certainly saves on space. But sometimes I understand things better if I can shuffle papers around in front of me instead of having numerous windows open on my computer screen. Your mileage may vary.

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