Scrivener…To Do or Not To Do??

What is Scrivener? Short answer, project management software: outline, edit, and writing. I’ve been considering this and watched a webinar/mini boot camp about it recently, presented by Lisa Alzo, hosted by Thomas MacEntee.


* A great place to get your writing done, being able to import your information from other spots and have it handy.  Great tool for editing.
* 30-day free trial period is not consecutive days. If you use it one day and then let it sit dormant a few days, the next time you use it will be your second trial day and so forth.
* Relatively inexpensive. For Windows, $40 license.

Cons: Learning curve, big learning curve. It can seem a bit overwhelming at times with different screens, corkboards, the binder, files, folders, etc.

Along with the boot camp webinar, I’m also checking out some of the YouTube demos.

One of the reasons I’m considering this is to possibly be able to transcribe oral interviews for personal historians (more info here). I’d like to join their association and possibly offer my services to those who need interviews transcribed. Still in an embryonic stage, though!

Fast forward a couple months…

I took the plunge and started my free trial.

I’m beginning to write up the findings of the research I’ve done for my friend. She wanted to know more about her 2nd-great-GM, so I’ve been working on tracing that lady back. I have the info in RootsMagic7, which will give me a dandy narrative report of this lady’s ancestors. I’m going to use that as the outline and add what I can from newspaper articles and social history of the time/place that that particular ancestor lived in. I’m going to use Scrivener to create that.

The first part of the report will be about this lady and her life, Then her parents and their parents, as far back as I can document with certainty. Right now, I’ve taken this lady’s life and broken it down into different sections using the corkboard and notecards. I think I’m going to do a direct-line narrative, focusing on my friend’s direct ancestors, but will add what vital statistics I can find on the collateral relatives. What I think I’m going to like is being able to add the supporting documents to the report for my friend to have, instead of saying I found this info on a marriage license in this county, now you go get a copy of the original. I’ll put the citation, of course, but I’ll procure a copy of the document and add it to the report. This excites me! Basically, I’m doing this work pro bono for my friend to 1) gain the experience and 2) use in my BCG portfolio. It looks like I’m going to have to travel to 2 counties here in Indiana and possibly 2-3 counties in Ohio for documents.

So, I’ve committed to this. I hope to get a good amount done during the free trial and finish this up before summer ends. Lofty goals!

Passing Thoughts~Kinship Determination Project


For the BCG certification portfolio, the final component is #7, the Kinship Determination Project (KDP). It requires 3 generations researched and documented in a narrative lineage, narrative genealogy, or pedigree lineage. The generations used cannot be you or your siblings. So, that excludes your parent’s generation because even if they are the 3rd generation you document, you and/or your siblings, as their child/ren, will be listed. The most recent generation related to yourself that can be used would be your grandparent’s generation.

I’ve been mulling this over…which family and which generation to use, plus which style to use. At first, I thought I wanted to use my Ballard line (Amos>Aaron>Amos Benton). There are good Quaker records there, but Aaron was an only child so that generation is a little sparse. Now, I’m considering the Ford line (Nathaniel>John>Lyman)…definitely a bigger challenge. Both of these lines start with my 4th-great-GF (Amos Ballard and Nathaniel Ford), so if I’m the first generation I’d be using my 5th, 6th, and 7th generations, if that makes any sense.

I’m pretty sure I’ve touched on this before…from a webinar…found it! here

Styles (the bold is mine; everything in bold is per the BCG FAQ on their website

  • Narrative Genealogy (Descending)
    A narrative genealogy is an historical account of a family, in which each individual life is presented in historical context with biographical and genealogical details. Typically, a narrative genealogy presents the generations in a descending arrangement. Starting with a more-distant ancestor or ancestral couple, it comes forward through the generations, attempting to account for all known descendants, in all lines (female as well as male) for a certain number of generations.
  • Narrative Pedigree (Ascending)
    A narrative pedigree is essentially the reverse of the narrative genealogy. Instead of starting with an ancestral couple and tracking all descendants forward in time, it begins with a more-recent person and develops his or her ancestry in various branches. As with a narrative genealogy, a narrative pedigree should provide a discussion of the lives that have been assembled for each person, not just a recital of the vital statistics that would appear on a pedigree chart.
  • Narrative Lineage (Descending or Ascending)
    A narrative lineage is a genealogical and biographical account of a family in a direct line, through a certain number of generations. It might start with a more-distant couple and come forward through the generations, or start with a more-recent person and proceed backward in time. A narrative lineage would provide the same personal detail on each couple and their children as called for in a narrative genealogy or a narrative pedigree.

I think I’ll do a narrative lineage and use the Fords. I have other plans for the Ballards! I need to get on the ball and find marriage records for Genesee Co, NY!!!