Well, it's April and a perfect time for Spring Cleaning. Spring cleaning your genealogy that is! If you are like me, your genealogy files are in a mess.
I have filing cabinets chock full of file folders which are chock full of papers.
I have dozens of clear plastic tubs full of assorted genealogy papers.
I have a desk that defies the laws of gravity with its towers of papers.
In short I have a mess that I have the best intentions every year to clean up.
But this year it's going to be different. Here is my plan. And yes, I've already started on it!
1. Purge my file folders first. Go through each folder and ruthlessly toss papers I truly do not need anymore
2. Reorganize the papers that I have in the now purged file folders. Make sure I have sorted the remaining papers into groups other than "Assorted" or "Miscellaneous". I want each family to have folders for census, vital stats, land records and so on. So I will sort by such titles as PEER FAMILY - CENSUS; PEER FAMILY - LAND RECORDS etc. Everyone has their own organization method. The key is to choose yours and then be consistent.
3. Using my beloved labeller, print off all new file folder labels. Large print, easy to read.
4. Now attack the tubs of loose papers. That's a huge job but it needs to be done. Sort, organize, toss, and file.
5. Next attack my gravity defying stacks of paper on my desk. Same deal - sort, organize, toss and file. Create more file folders if needed.
6. At this point your office should be looking a whole lot neater! Next is a monumental task but extremely important and one I am very very bad at. Go through each file folder and ENTER DATA into your genealogy program! Check every single piece of paper, every document. Have you entered it? If not, do so. Now, this minute.
This is not a one day or even one month job. My spring cleaning of my genealogy is going to take me a few months but I'm determined to do it. No more file folders labelled "Miscellaneous". No more opening a file folder labelled "New York Families" and finding my Ontario Vollick line in there. No more hunting for hours for that one land record I know I have - but can't remember where I put it.
I've already started. Last month I purged. It was so hard to do, I always have the certainty that I will toss out paper that next week I'll find I need. But I did it. I purged and I reorganized my folders and I re-labelled everything.
Saving the worst for last, I now have to go through all my odds 'n ends of paper which cover every square inch of available furniture in my office, and are in tubs stacked 3 high. Maybe I'll have it done by Christmas!