Top Tools I Use: Note-taking

I have had people ask me about various tools when I teach classes or deliver lectures/seminars that I thought I’d share some of those through my blog along with any tips I think of along the way. To read last week’s post click here. Enjoy!

Genealogists take a lot of notes. Notes from a research project. Notes from presentations and institutes attended. Notes on DNA projects. Notes on recipes, Christmas lists, quilting patterns, books to read, movies to watch, and so on. I have notes in a lot of places: notebooks of varying shapes and sizes, binders, napkins and scraps, and on my computer in a variety of programs. However, I have made a concerted effort to get all of those old notes into one location: Evernote.

Evernote allows you to title, tag, create notebooks, stack notebooks, add PDFs and images, create tables, and more. All of this functionality allows for many different ways to keep your stuff organized. You can also do a keyword search in Evernote so even if you don’t have a tag on a note, you can search by keywords and find what you are looking for. You can also create links of notes so that you can link one note to another. I love this feature for my research plans and logs (plogs I call them) and allows me to keep the log in one place, and notes on findings in another so all I have to do is click on the link I created to pull up the note with the images I made or the notes I took.


In the image above there are several links, those in green link to another Evernote note whereas the blue links point to webpages. Evernote also has “dark mode” which is much easier on the eyes.

Evernote can do so much. There are many helpful resources out there. They have an excellent help and learning section of their website, a YouTube channel, and a blog. At they have an Evernote category with four webinars on the topic.1 Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems has a YouTube playlist with her videos all about how to use Evernote for genealogy. I have even written about Evernote before here.

There are other note-taking apps and systems out there. Primarily I wanted to share what I use. But if you prefer another method, by all means. As Nike says, Just Do It. Get your notes organized. Well, maybe Nike didn’t have notes in mind, but you get the idea.

1. This is an affiliate link to When you click it, and IF you make a purchase, I get a small percentage back. This is a great way to support my blog. Thank you in advance!

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