More Ways I Use Evernote for Genealogy

by Tonia Kendrick on February 3, 2012 in Technology

I started using Evernote about 18 months ago (you can read my original post on the subject here) and I wanted to revisit the topic with some tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way, as well as highlight some new features.

Evernote really has become more and more useful over the last 18 months, as the company has added new features, acquired companies, and as third parties have built apps to work with Evernote.  Some of the features I’m finding most useful are:

Notebook Stacks

Stacks are a way to organize notebooks into groups.  If you are a OneNote user, Evernote stacks are akin to a OneNote notebook with Evernote notebooks like OneNote pages.  Each notebook can have as many pages (like OneNote subpages) as you want.  Stacks provide an added level of organization.  For example, I have a “Genealogy” notebook stack that currently contains five notebooks:

  • Genealogy – General:  this is for stuff that is related to Genealogy, but doesn’t fit it into any other notebook.
  • Langston Research – this is a research project
  • Patterson-Chapman notes – another research project
  • Stroud-Curtis notes – another research project
  • US-REC Study group – everything related to – you guessed it – the US Records Study Group of which I’m a participant and co-leader.

Note Links

You can imbed links from any Evernote note into any other note (and into outside apps, like calendars, I understand).  One way that I use this is when prepping assignments for US-REC Study Group.  As I find things related to a topic, I can clip them into Evernote.  I also have one master note for the assignment and include links to all other notes – sort of like an interactive outline.

This screen shot shows the master note with links back to individual web clips.


Evernote has had checkboxes that let you make to-do lists for quite awhile.  But I’ve recently learned that you can add a checkbox to anything in any note (as opposed to creating a separate to-do list).  Using a search on todo:false brings back all the blank checkboxes.  So, for example, if I found a webinar that I want to attend, I can clip the the webpage (or a portion of the page) and add a checkbox to that note, with a line to register for the webinar and the date.

Evernote Clearly

Evernote Clearly is a browser add-in that lets you strip out all the “clutter” on web pages:  headers, sidebars, etc.  While this makes for a simpler reading experience, I really like it for clipping web pages.  In addition to the Clearly icon, you get a little sidebar with the Evernote elephant icon.  Clicking the elephant clips the web page from Clearly without all the extra information, that you don’t necessarily want in a web clip.

Emailing into Evernote

There are a couple of tricks I’ve learned that make emailing into Evernote more efficent.  Add @notebookname and/or #tagname into the email subject line and the email is automatically filed where you want it to go.  This means you don’t have to deal with it again when you go into Evernote.  I can use this to forward emails I’ve received or to email new files or web clips into Evernote, if I don’t have access to Evernote at the time.

An example of how I regularly use this is with email newsletters.  I keep a notebook with the newsletter name and automatically forward the newsletter into Evernote with @NewsletterName.  Then, I have access to the newsletter to read at lunch or when waiting, etc.

These are some of the ways that Evernote assists me with my genealogy research.  What are some of your top tips for using Evernote?




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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenna February 3, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Thanks for the tip for adding the notebook name in the subject line when emailing, I didn’t know that. I have some new tips from rootstech session, will try to blog them soon.


Tonia Kendrick February 3, 2012 at 7:43 pm

That’s great, Jenna. I was hoping someone would blog some of the RootsTech tips.


Rosemary February 3, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Ah! They’ve finally reinstalled the Note Links feature which was in Evernote 2. I never upgraded because I use this feature so heavily.


Diane Boumenot February 4, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Thanks, I just got Clearly cranked up – made a note of a book on Amazon that I’d like to find in a library. thanks


Jennifer Trahan February 6, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Do you know if there is a way to zoom in on a .jpg image in Evernote when running it on a PC? I just downloaded the latest version and have been playing around with it. I copied a census image into it, and I wanted to zoom in to see the image more clearly, but I couldn’t figure out how to zoom in. When I googled the topic, I saw there were some bugs with the most recent version when trying to zoom into .pdf files on mobile devices, but I’m not sure this applies to my situation. I am looking at a .jpg image using Windows XP.
Jennifer Trahan´s last blog post ..A More Sensible Response to the SSDI Access Issues


Tonia Kendrick February 7, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Hi Jennifer, I just tried out a census image for comparison. I double clicked on the image in Evernote and it opened in Windows Photo Viewer, which allowed me to zoom in. I’m doing this with Windows 7, so it may be different in XP.


Linda McCauley February 7, 2012 at 9:56 pm

I think I just learned more from reading your post than I did in the Evernote session at RootsTech. Thanks, Tonia.
Linda McCauley´s last blog post ..Birthdays – Aunt Katie and Uncle John


Tonia Kendrick February 8, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Thanks, Linda! I’ve actually been thinking about putting together a presentation on using Evernote for Genealogy.


Marianne Handler February 4, 2014 at 11:36 pm

I have just started using evernote. I have one BIG question. I had a notebook named Genealogy. I put one named FamilyName in it. Not I want to put a notebook named John FamilyNamed into FamilyName so it would ba a stack inside of a stack. Can that be done? Do I need a Stack named EachFamilyName and then put the members in there?


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