So how are these genealogy friends going to keep track of everything, without software? I sure hope not like I did when I first began! About eight years ago, I taught a number of beginner genealogy classes. And beginner it was. No software was used by the students. So I devised a method that they could use to keep track of their ancestors. The page below is one of the two methods I came up with.
In the locations where I have ancestors, I have listed the states in alphabetical order, then the county, then town/city. Within the towns, I then listed my surnames in alphabetical order, followed by their spouse and what personal event occurred there, such as birth-marriage-death, with the dates. I entered all my surnames this way, and kept the pages in a binder. For years, I would bring the binder to libraries. Why? It was the easiest way to see what families I had in each state and in each county. Many genealogy libraries have books shelved by state, and then county, so this method made it a breeze to go down an isle (say Vermont) and see those I have for that certain area (Vermont).
If your library doesn't have open stacks, but instead, you need a staff member to get your books (closed stacks), you first have to use a card catalog or an online catalog to see what is available. An example, search Massachusetts, then Middlesex County, then Andover to see what the library has in their holding. Having all your states and towns typed and printed out, makes it easier to go down your list against the catalog.
I do not use this system any more; I have way too many names, towns, towns, counties and states. However, if somebody is just beginning out, I think this is a easy and free method. Of course, this only pertains to locations. What if they don't have a computer, a person can easily hand write everything. My form for names will be shown tomorrow. The example below was done in MS Word, but you can now use Google Docs or any other document software. (Further down, is the page in a pdf.)
ANDOVER (all the below had residency in Andover)
William Ballard / Grace Berwick—He died July 10, 1689. She died April 27, 1694.
Joseph Ballard / Rebeckah Rea—He born abt. 1645, married Nov. 15, 1692, and died Sept. 29, 1722. She died Feb. 11, 1739
Josiah Ballard / Mary Chandler—He born June 22, 1699, married Aug. 7, 1721, and died Dec. 26, 1780. She born March 8, 1701 and died April 3, 1779.
Josiah Ballard / Sarah Carter—He born August 14, 1721.
Simon Bradstreet / Anne Dudley—She died September 16, 1672.
Thomas Carter / Ruth Phelps—They married Dec. 25, 1706. She born June 1, 1684.
Thomas Chandler / Hannah Brewer—She born Oct. 25, 1630. He died Jan. 15, 1702 and died Oct. 25, 1717.
Thomas Chandler / Mary Peters—He born Oct. 9, 1664. They married May 22, 1686. She died July 21, 1753.
Andrew Peters / Mercy Beamsley—They married 1659 poss. here. or Ipswich. She died Nov. 5, 1726. He died Dec. 4, 1713.
Edward Phelps / Elizabeth Adams—They married 1651 here or Newbury. She died May 4, 1718 here or Lancaster.
Edward Phelps / Ruth Andrews—They married March 9, 1682.
Maj. Nathaniel Wade / Mercy Bradstreet—They married Oct. 31, 1672. She born 1647.