My Vital Documents Report

In my prior post, My Vital Documents, I discussed classifying your sources so that GenDetective can tell you which vital documents you have located and which you still need to find.  Our spreadsheets are accurate as long as we always remember to identify the documents we have found or sent away for.  The key word in that sentence is “always”.  When I get a new document, and do my little happy dance, I quickly scan the document into the computer, record the information into my family tree, file the document and move onto the next.  Since I send for documents in batches, I frequently get more than one back on the same day.

I was relying on the accuracy of my spreadsheet, but sometimes forgot to record the documents I had received. The GenDetective My Vital Documents report solves this issue.  Since I always record the information and sourcing in my family tree, having all of the information in one place and using that to generate my tracking report eliminates the “I forgot” issue.  And yes, I did send for the same document twice (at least it was only $3.00, but still).

To create the My Vital Documents report in GenDetective navigate one of the two paths shown below:

1. Reports By Task 1. Reports By Task
2. Tell me about my family 2. How close am I to meeting my research goals?
3. My documentation 3. My vital documents
4. My vital documents

After running the My Vital Documents report you should see something similar to this:

My Vital Documents

My Vital Documents

Now that you have your report with blank squares, filled in squares and check marks what does it mean?  Wait, what do the filled in squares mean?

  1. Check: you have the document
  2. Empty square: you do not have the document
  3. Filled in square: you have an index that points to a document

As wonderful as an index is, for example, the West Virginia Birth Index 1853-1969, it only contains a subset of the information recorded on the actual birth certificate.  In genealogy, an index directs us to really good information.  Go and get a copy of the record the index points to.  For a 2nd cousin, I won’t pay for a birth certificate, however, if the collection is online for free, I will happily download the image.  For my direct lines, I purchase the certificates, however, since my genealogy budget is not unlimited, these are an “over time acquisition”.  This report helps me prioritize my acquisitions as well as tracking which documents I have and don’t have.

Why does it seem like no matter how many courthouses I visit, there are always more waiting?

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