Sunday, June 20, 2010

Organizing My World- Part II

I know that I have left my organization entry in deep space, as well as the rest of my blog, but illness can be a cruel monster and as much as I would like to think I have complete control, we all know that there is no such wish.

Now that that is off my chest I can proceed to further discussion regarding how I keep my genealogy paper organized. I discussed in the first entry that I keep a binder for each family unit on my pedigree chart in order to maintain the information gathered about each family on my tree. I am a visual learner, so I am including several photos with this entry in order to demonstrate what I am writing:

      These are the family binders in my library bookshelf separated into two different colors to easily distinguish my two parental lines Yellow is my maternal line, and blue is the paternal one. I am planning to further divide into 4 separate color lines this summer based on my grandparent lines instead as more data is assembled, successfully sourced, and appropriately filed. The good thing is I can easily change these colors even by using scrapbook paper on the outside of the binders in the sleeves. I have mini binders in 4 colors: blue, silver, burgandy, and green, so I may stick to those, but have not made up my mind.

     The sides, front, and back are clearly labeled with the family name so that I can easily find the family of need. I also have my address on the cover in case I should accidently leave the folder at a repository.

I follow the advice of keeping records of my direct line with their parents until they get married. Once they marry, I take their marriage record and use it as the beginning of their own binder in my bookshelf.

Let's use for an example a couple that married in 1800. Their binder includes sections for their chronologies, vital records, censuses as a couple, land, military/school, everyday life, logs, etc. Their son, John is my direct ancestor. Once he married Sally I would set up a binder for the two of them. All information for the two of them since marriage is in the joint binder. Each child they had also has a separate section, labeled as above. The son or daughter born that again is my direct ancestor , would then be in his own separate binder, and on down the line.

The other children will remain with their parents. After some trial and error this became easier for me because there were too many times when documentation served joint family members. This keeps all together and my mind from going crazy trying to decide where in the world to put Document A or B.

I also have a file cabinet with manila folders for each surname. Whenever I get home from a repository or find a document on the computer I put it in the folder until I have taken the time to source the information, and note receipt off my list of missing items. This keeps me from leaving items all over the house in several locations, which is good because I have many other items that fits into that category.

This is not a perfect system. There are lazy days when I come home from the library with a pile a paper and simply sit it on the desk until later, but I no longer spend time going through piles, then going through piles again trying to find that one elusive piece of paper that I just know I have. When I am trying to figure out a birth date while on the phone with my mother, I can either check my computer program or open the appropriate folder.

I use acid free sheet protectors, and rarely take these books out of the home. I have other items that go with me. That will be part 3 of this later this week.