Thursday, July 7, 2016

Organizing your genealogy materials

Staring at my pile of papers to be organized motivates me to share my filing system, such as it is. I came up with this one on my own way back as a beginning genealogist.

Folders: I use colored folders with two pockets. Regular file folders are generally used by researchers. The folders I use are more secure in holding the papers. I generally hit the stores when school supplies are on sale and pick up several folders of various colors. I use file stickers to identify each folders content.

A family is assigned to each folder. The name of the family is written on a sticker and applied to the center edge of the folder. That worked nicely early on. As new material is found for each family, adjustments are made. I create a new folder for individuals as the need arises. For example, my Prall family has several folders: Arent Jansen, Pieter, Aaron, Cornelius Sr., Edward, Benjamin, James, Elizabeth, Cornelius Sr., Isaac R., Hugh M., William M., Miscellaneous [unrelated Prall info], Cornelius Sr./Jr. Deeds.

Data collected on each persons family is placed in his/her folder. Any kids who generate a good deal of info get a folder of their own.

In a few cases, two families will share a folder if there are only a couple of items on each family.

What goes into the folder? You name it. Vital records, probate, deeds, biographical composites, local records, etc. all go into the folder.

For better or worse, I do not put birth, marriage and death certificates into the individual folders. Photos of graves or the people themselves are withheld as well. I have a special notebook for those.

Many researchers have a folder for every person in their database that generates a document. Others recommend  important documents be put in a computer file. There are a ton of different organizational options. Check online for ideas or ask other researchers for ideas. Then tweak to suit your needs.

[next: bmd records and photos]

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