There are many ways to organize your genealogy. Most people these days do most of their genealogy on computers and/or tablets, thanks to Ancestry.com. And I am all for that, I love Ancestry and if, God forbid, something should happen to my hard copies I am so thankful that I have most of my research on ancestry or on my laptops.
But I am an “old school” fan! I LOVE having the actual documents or photos in my hands! And after trying to share my genealogy with someone I have found that I wasn’t always good at organizing and sourcing my research. So I am bound and determined to work on that this month.
Here are some of my tips on organizing your hard copies of your research. You can research “old school” going to the library with a pen and notepad (and lots of coins for the copy machine), or you can research online and print out the documents or photos from the comfort of your own home…. either way you need to have a few things. I have multiple 3-ring binders, in various sizes but my most common is a 2 1/2-inch binder. I add writable Insertable Big Tab Dividers to the binder, I have one tab for each family unit. Then I us sticky notes and highlighters to help keep myself on track and for easy viewing. The photos below are examples of what I would buy, you should buy what you like and what works for you.
Here are some tips from The Family Curator that she wrote for her local genealogy society newsletter. My thoughts are in italics after each tip.
Ten Tips for Organizing Genealogy Research
- Sheet Control – Use standard 8 ½ x 11-inch paper for all notes and printouts. (You will curse yourself if you have loads of half sheets falling out your binder. Unless you use post-it notes.)
- Stay Single – One surname, one locality per sheet for easy filing. (It’s very hard to do this at times when your ancestors lived close together.)
- No Repeats – Avoid errors; write legibly the first time.
- Dating Yourself – Always write the current date on your research notes. (This will come in handing later when you source!)
- Be Color Clever – Distinguish family lines with different colored folders, binders, tabs. (I have used color for location not surnames, but I love this idea!)
- File First – File one research trip or effort before starting the next one.
- Ask Directions – Write your own filing instructions; a big help when you take a long break.
- Supply Closet – Keep a stash of folders, plastic sleeves, tabs, printer ink.
- One File at a Time – Work through paper piles steadily; the mess didn’t happen in one day.
- KISS – Keep It Simple, Silly! Use an easy to set up, easy to maintain system.
Some more organizing tips from the internet:
Until Next Time….