by Vanessa Wieland in Family Tree Magazine
There’s a simple key to organizing your genealogy research without losing your mind or feeling overwhelmed.
5 steps to genealogy organization
1. Make an inventory.
Create a list or set of stacks of your paperwork. What do you have? Where does it currently live? Bonus: you may find while you’re doing this that you start to see patterns, holes in your research, and inspiration for new research crop up during this process.
2. Determine the organization system that best works for you.
Try to keep it as simple as possible.
3. Sort your work into your organization system.
This is where that timer will really come in handy. You can tackle this a variety of ways, but here are some possible solutions to accomplishing items in your time frame:
- by branch/family (maternal and paternal)
- by surname
- by person
- by record
- by research question or log
4. Keep narrowing down your goal.
Narrow your goal until you have a target you can easily achieve. For tips on research methods and tools, join our weeklong workshop, Organize Your Genealogy in a Week.
5. Keep a research log or to-do list.
Track your research as you go to write down steps and things you may want to investigate. Don’t let yourself get sidetracked. Write it down, then you can revisit it later. Facebook reader Jennifer Till advises, “Resist the urge to write on random scraps of paper -get a notebook with some kind of binding and carry it with you for all those random research thoughts.”
We asked, you answered!
- Put it all in one room
- Write the family name in block letters in sharpie pen on binder spine
- Don’t have too many binders
- Pick a binder color for each family name/line and stick to it
- Keep your organizing as simple as possible Back up on-line and off-line research
- Resist the urge to write on random scraps of paper -get a notebook with some kind of binding and carry it with you for all those random research thoughts
- Source source source source
- you can easily organize all of your genealogy on your computer
- you can easily share information on CDs or DVDs
- you don’t have to handle fragile original documents
All of these tips apply to digital versions as well as paper versions of your work. And we love hearing from you, so send us your favorite organization and genealogy tips.
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