March 26, 2014
Spring Is Supposedly Here and My Spring Organization Fever is High
Yep, every year I go through this. During the long winters I sit and think about the mess of my genealogy files. Every year I come up with a new way to organize them. Sometimes I go back to old ways, long discarded as not working. I've tried binders by surnames, binders by topics, pdf files on my computer, file folders by surname, file folders by topics... in short I believe I've tried every possible organizational method there is. In fact I've blogged about getting organized many times.
But I'm never happy. These past couple of years I've discovered quite a bit of detail (newspaper clippings, parish and church records, land petitions and so on) for several of my ancestors. I've also scanned many original documents in my possession. That's what made me realize my genealogy is getting out of hand. I'm overwhelmed by the sheer volume of my findings.
Hubs is in the same boat. He doesn't even remember who many of his further back ancestors are or what we know about them. So today we made a decision that starting this week we are going to set aside a minimum of one hour every day to sort, print and organize our genealogy files.
I'm going back to one of my very first methods that I used many years ago - binders. These binders will only be for my direct lines. However I'm not going to print genealogy reports or notes for my ancestors. Instead I plan to print a family group sheet for each of my direct ancestors. then print copies of all the documents I have for the parents on the family group sheet.
I suspect I will end up with many binders - each one holding ancestors sharing one surname for all generations. Ancestors whose data is skimpy will share a binder with other less detailed ancestors. I'm not going to put all the siblings in these binders. I have them on my genealogy program and in my paper files and in my digital files so that will suffice for now.
For me it's about narrowing my focus, not expanding it! I tend to get carried away and research all siblings of every direct ancestor. Don't get me wrong, that is a very valuable research technique as it provides you with clues and information you may not find if you only research your direct. But I don't need to organize all those siblings into a binder.
So wish us luck! I have no idea how many weeks or months this will take but I'm excited about starting.