Conducting A Document Inventory

Have you ever wanted to inventory your file folder of documents (evidence) for a person and compare it the list of documents associated with the person in your family tree?  I have been working on DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) applications and find that I have need to do so.  My primary focus is on my direct lines but there reports apply to any person in a family tree.

With a lot of online genealogy research, most of my documentation is on the computer.  I use file folders (for directs only) to store:

  • Deeds, mortgage records and tax records
  • Estate records
  • Court proceedings (civil or criminal lawsuits)
  • Birth, death and marriage certificates
  • Other information I have found “offline”:  in a courthouse, archives, or library

While I am working on a line, I will check to verify that I have a hardcopy of all of the information I found online.  Why?  I find it easier to evaluate all of the evidence in paper form where I can arrange it into piles: primary versus secondary, direct versus indirect or chronologically.  Not what I envisioned when I first started my genealogy research, but I’ve found it works best for me.

GenDetective has several different reports that help with this task.  Many of the documentation reports focus on missing documentation, or documents that you may still wish to acquire.  However, our task here is different: we want a unique list of all documents that are associated with a specific person.  Possible reports include:

  • Multimedia File References by Person:  This report outlines each file attached to every event or the person.  Not quite what I was looking for as files may be repeated if they are used to support multiple events.  A very useful report, if I am looking at the “supporting documents” for each event for a person, but that isn’t my current task.

    Media files by person

    Media files by person

  • My Supporting Documentation: This report fits the bill as it provides the title of the document or media file and the name of the file. However, it isn’t my favorite as it is small print and there is no way to check off that I have the document in my file folder.

    Documents By Person

    Documents By Person

  • My Document Inventory: This report is just right.  It is relatively new, and may have been in GenDetective 2.2, but if not it will be part of  GenDetective 2.3.  It has the title, name of the report, a check box (yes or no) and it is color banded making it easier to identify the documents I have printed and the ones that I need to print.
My Document Inventory

My Document Inventory

Happy researching.


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