Sunday, April 8, 2012

Overwhelmed With Information

Being an avid family history researcher (aka: genealogist) and being a naturally disorganized person do not go hand in hand.  The last two days have been a whirlwind of finding all new information for my family tree.  Now, what to do with all of that?

I haven't printed anything out yet.  My first step is to get it in their profile on Ancestry, or if I find it on another site like Family Search, then I download it to a file with their name on my computer.  Problem with this is that (a) sometimes I have to bounce between 20 different things to remember one fact about someone (b) many cousins are now requesting copies of everything I am finding.

I could easily keep it all on the computer, the external hard drive (always back up in more than one place!), and can send the cousins cd's.  But I am a paper person.  I want to hold it in my hand, look at that piece of paper while I am looking for another fact.  It also helps me to solve a problem in a person's timeline, to see it laid out in front of me.

So, where to start in setting up paper files?  I have no less than 10 family lines at the moment.  I have been flitting from one to another as I find information, which makes it all the more crucial that I set up a filing system to sort it all.

This video, done by a young genealogist, really gave me a great idea.  Here is what I came away with for ideas, after watching her video:

-Main folder in the front to hold forms, etc
-Four colors for the main families (Paternal Grandfather, Paternal Grandmother, Maternal Grandfather, Maternal Grandmother). All families that come off that main branch will receive the same color folder.
-Non direct lines (ie: siblings of my great grandfather), will receive a group sheet, with sources cited, and be filed in chronological order, in one manilla folder with the family name on it.  They do not need a specific folder for their family, as they are part of my family but not direct.

For my folders I will be using these:
And then each person will get a regular manilla file folder inside.  I prefer these over hanging file folders, because they won't fall down (the hanging ones tend to come off the brackets if they get the slightest bit bent).  And by having closed bottoms and sides, papers and other items cannot fall out.  It is also easier to grab a folder for a family, to take with me if I have to go do research somewhere else.  Just grab the whole folder and put it in my bag.

I also plan to set up a binder, with blank research forms and citation forms to take with me when I will be researching somewhere other than home.

Happy Researching!


  1. I used a color system with folders when I first started out. They didn't have this type of folder then, I may need to go back to that, though I have tons of hanging ones. Hmmm... decisions! LOL

    When you set up your binder, print out a few pedigrees and family sheets to keep in there too because that way you can look at a glance on the facts that you do have. You may want to find or make a research sheet, listing what you have on a person and what you may want to still look for too.