In the last post I introduced you to Trello, an online tool to organize just about anything. In this post I will show you a great place to look for inspiration on how you can use Trello, including my own inspiration board.
What is the best way to use Trello?
Some of my friends have asked me how Trello is "supposed" to be used. I have also had people ask me the "best" way of using Trello. My response to both of those questions is this:
In the previous post I shared a link to Trello's Getting Started Guide. I hope you went through that because it should have answered your most basic questions on how to create boards, cards, labels, and collaboration.
How do others use Trello?
I can't tell you how every person uses Trello, but they an incredible library of boards that users like you and me have created where others can get inspiration. I check out this library all time to see how people are using it and to get inspiration on how I can modify my boards or improve my processes.
I have yet to see any boards on the inspiration page specifically related to genealogy, so I created my own (and even submitted it to be featured in their inspiration library).
My Trello Inspiration
My first inspiration board I have created (I have several ideas for more ways to use Trello for genealogy) is focused around main research/to-do items.
As I mentioned in the previous post, for years I have looked for a good way to keep various items organized in my research including my to-do items. Many of the genealogy programs have to-do lists, but none of them met my needs or gave me the ability to see the "big picture" of the status of my research.
Let's take a look at my inspiration board and go into details of how I use each List on the board. Click on the board screenshot or button below to see the board. Be sure to come back here and read more details below about the board setup.
Now that you have taken a look at the board, let's dive deeper into the details of each List and how I use this board.
In this genealogy board, I mainly use it to keep track of all my “to-dos,” projects, and goals. Any genealogist, whether professional or hobbyist, will tell you that genealogy is a never-ending journey. Once you get your feet wet, the next thing you know is you are swimming in the deep end. Using Trello helps me make sure I don’t sink in the deep end with the items I am working on.
My board is set up using the Kanban method, going from left-to-right and showing the progress of my tasks and projects. Below is an overview of each list in my board and how I use it:
Board Information/How to Use
The first list on this board is a section on “how to use this board.” I briefly describe my genealogy organization (some might call it OCD), and how I use Trello labels. I have a completely separate board just for my organization standards such as filing methods, document naming standards, and how I name my photos.
The next list is my backlog. I have included a couple examples of actual items in my backlog, but my actual board has dozens of items. Every genealogist has a list of people and places they want to research and there just isn’t enough time in the day (or night) to focus on it all at once. Whenever I have a new idea like creating a slideshow or coffee table book, I add it to my backlog. I then prioritize which items I want to work on in my backlog by sorting the cards with the items I want to work on first at the top of the list.
This list is for items that I know I will work on in the near future. If I have something in my backlog that I want to “schedule” to work on soon, I’ll move it over to the Near Future list. If I find a bunch of items I want to obtain at the Family History Library (FHL) or other archive that I will be visiting soon, I will move those cards to this list (from my FHL Records list, which I describe more below). I try not to have items in this list that are more than a couple weeks out.
If today is the day I am going to the Family History Library, I will move those cards to the Today list - this makes it so I can focus on just the items in Today and not worry about anything else.
In Progress (Long Term)
This list is for items that will take longer than a day or two to complete. When I go to the Family History Library I can usually pull all the microfilms I need in a single visit, but when I have projects like coffee table books, slideshows, or transcribing hand-written documents, those could take days, weeks, or even months. This list is a good place to put those items since they will take me a while to complete.
FHL Records (to get)
Like many genealogists, I constantly find indexes to records that are available on microfilm or online at the Family History Library. Even though I am 20 minutes away from the library in downtown Salt Lake City, I don’t make it there on a weekly basis. So, when I find indexes to records I want to obtain I create a card for each record, along with the index details, microfilm number, and any other information I may need to quickly find that record at the library. This list is my “backlog” of records specific to the Family History Library. Once I plan my trip to the library and decide which items to obtain there, I will move the cards to my Near Future list. And then the day of my library visit I will move the cards to Today.
Records to Order
This list is very similar to my FHL Records list, but these are records that I need to obtain from some other repository other than the Family History Library. Not all genealogy records are online. In fact, most of them are still in paper format in archives, libraries, and other buildings across the world. In order to be thorough in my research, I want to make sure I find all of the necessary documentation to prove relationships, break down brick walls, and discover fascinating stories about my ancestors. Many of those records are found in these other repositories. Just like my FHL Records list, I usually create a separate card for each record, microfilm, or data set I need.
I hope my inspiration board and this post has helped you learn a bit more about how you could use Trello for your genealogy research.
Stay tuned for more posts about Trello.
Did you like this post? Let me know below what you did or didn't like, or if you have any questions on how to use Trello.
A.C. Ivory is a professional genealogist, blogger, product manager, ux designer, computer geek, and traveler.
Do you love old photos? If so, check out my other site, Forsaken Photos!