But for any of you who are still struggling to figure out how to organize your research, Vanessa Wieland, online editor at Family Tree University, recently posted on four ways to get organized. It is a good article, comprised of information taken from one of Family Tree University's workshops.
For the sake of simlicity, I have re-posted part of her article below:
There are different ways of organizing your physical files and ephemera, or perhaps, like me, you do a combination of both online and physical records-keeping. Below, excerpted from the workshop, are four (4) approaches to organizing your physical files into folders.
What you'll need:
- A filing cabinet or file boxes with lids. If you use a box, look for ones with a grooved edge so you can use hanging files.
- Letter-sized hanging file folders in at least four different colors.
- Manila folders that fit inside hanging file folders.
- Electric label maker or fine-tipped pens.
- This method is easiest if you first print off a pedigree chart that covers four to five generations. If you don't use computer software, you can download a free pedigree chart here.
- Assign a color to each of your grandparents, then use the same color for that grandparent's line. For example, if you assigned yellow to your paternal grandfather, all of the people in his line would also receive yellow.
- Assign one color for both your father and your mother.
- Assign one color for yourself.
- Use a hanging file of the appropriate color to hold each generation, putting them into a box or file cabinet in generation order (self, parents, grandparents, etc).
Assign colors to each surname and create a manila folder for each person, labeling the tab with the name and dates of birth/death, i.e. CONNERS, Matilda 1774-1812.3. File by Individual and Record Type
- Like the Surname organization, assign colors to each surname and create a manila folder for each person, labeling the tab with the name and dates of birth/death, i.e. CONNERS, Matilda 1774-1812.
- Place the individual folder into the appropriate color hanging file.
- Place each document type into a separate manila folder and place into the same hanging file as the individual folder, i.e. all military records for the individual in one folder, all vital statistics in another.
- Alphabetize hanging files by surname.
Keep an individual folder for each person stocked with the following items, plus other records you find:
- a family group sheet
- a pedigree chart
- a timeline
- to-do list
- your research log
- official records (vitals, land, census, military, etc)
- historical information