Mark your calendar for CSU workshop on organization, Jan. 8-9, 2011, at CSU
Questions to help plan the workshop.
Please respond to Selma by email, thank you.
What computer genealogical software do you use? Please, rate your skill use as
beginner, intermediate, or expert.
Do you have a scanner? Please rate your skill use as beginner, intermediate, or
The workshop will be for you to work on your files. More information to follow.
The following article fits into our January 8, 2011, workshop and January 9,
The following is from Roots Web Review, 13 October 2010, vol. 13, no. 10.
By Mary Harrell-Sesniak
“Genealogy is not just a pastime; it's a passion.”
Tips for Organizing Genealogy
As our research grows, so do our documents – and rather than become mired in
duplication of records, choose a filing system that is effective.
Some family historians group by document type (e.g., wills in one file, birth
certificates in another) and others try other methods, such as surname or
location sorting. But whichever method you choose, there is certain to be a
dilemma. For example,
Should documents for women be stored with parents or spouses?
Should sibling records be grouped with direct ancestors or
Should vital record copies be kept separately?
In selecting an organizational system, let your goals guide you. For instance,
If joining a lineage society, consider sorting files by generation.
For projects, such as a transcription records, try sorting by
location and surname.
Family groupings may work well for surname studies.
And if authoring a book on ancestors or descendants, then sort
In all probability, you'll choose a hybrid system, which can differ for
computer and paper copies. And within your system, remember to add summary
reports, so information is easily cross-referenced.
Perhaps my organizational methods will assist in developing your own system.
Paperwork is stored in a variety of boxes, 3-ring binders, files and plastic
* Color-coding is used for ancestral groups (for example, green for Dad's
and red for Mom's ancestry)
* 3-ring binders are used for surname documents with dividers marking
* Portable / accordion files contain current projects, such as lineage
* Tubs help for larger projects and ancestors with voluminous quantities of
* Archival boxes store original documents, with copies filed elsewhere
* Archival quality sleeves protect documents, with notations added as to
whether a scan has been made
* Pedigree and / or family group sheets are added for cross-referencing
* TODO lists are placed prominently with check lists of what has been scanned
* Directories are created for major surnames
* Subdirectories (or subfolders) are established showing the names of
* A third level may be added for children or type of document (for
example, military files)
* So that I don't have to consult a genealogy program, numbering
indicates the descent from an ancestor (in the example, one can see that
I am 15-generations in descent from Nicholas Wilder)
* Files are backed up to external hard drives and copies shared with family
* GEDCOMS are uploaded to WorldConnect, so they can be shared with
others – but equally important, is they serve as backups in case of
In developing your own organizational methods, we recommend reading these ideas
found on RootsWeb.
How to Organize Your Paper Files- Pierre-Fort Pierre Genealogical Society
Genealogical Record Keeping or "Now that I've found it, what do I do with
it?"- by William Dollarhide and reprinted on Wendy Loveless Waldron's page
Some tips on organizing your genealogy research - The Gene Pool