Saturday, October 1, 2011

Organizing My Genealogy Files

I joined the study group organized by Valerie of Family Cherished. and Tonia of Tonia's Roots .  They are wonderful in encouragement and offering ideas.
The first order of the day was to read chapter 7 in A Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy, set goals for organizing and write a blog about it.
I have been working on my assignment, just had not blogged about it.  The group is a gregarious group and I have learned much from them.
My secret...I am a closet perfectionist.  I love organization, and I constantly purchase file folders, bins, file cabinets, and binders to do my organization in. I watch the blogs and twitter for new ideas.  Unfortunately, I find myself with stacks of organizational material to be utilized or "organized".
Therefore, my First goal must, of necessity, be to pick a method,Second it to USE IT, Third is to begin with one family.
I had heard of using OneNote as a organizational method reading Elyse's blog about it. I knew I had the software, and had used it for my FamilySearch mission to keep things in order.
With a little encouragement from Valerie, I set up my Genealogy Notebook on OneNote.

This is what my paper file looked like...
My pictures, which I will not fill you with the visual horror of the stacks in boxes, file folders, tubs, etc., are being organized by scan into folders on my external hard drive.

I am the guilty person who has a stack of 'backs of envelopes', scratch pads, multiple notes for different people on the same notebook page.
I am now sorting out the physical file folders one family at a time and am scanning information and adding it to the OneNote folders, and I love the feature of being able to 'print to the folder'  It saves when working on line, Copying and pasting or printing, scanning and sending  to folder.  I can print it out later for the hard copy file.
This is my hope for a better genealogy life, and I plan to stick to it this time instead of giving up because it is not happening perfectly.


  1. Fran, great start. I want to remind you that 'perfection' is in the eye of the beholder. That means that you have every right to re-define perfection to suit your needs. I used to struggle with "Be perfect as you heavenly father is perfect" because I thought that perfection meant no mistakes, no flaws, no falling short of the ideal. (And I keep falling short!) What I have since learned is that what was translated as 'perfect' might better be translated as 'whole' or 'wholesome.' I think a system that leads to and assists a wholesome approach to genealogy is a wonderful thing. A system of 'perfection' is at best a distress-er and at worst a terrorist. Your "hope for a better genealogy life" sounds rather wholesome to me!

  2. Thanks GeneaPop Pop. Wonderful reminder.

  3. Fran, I totally understand the need for perfection. Great start!

  4. Great post! I tend toward perfectionism also, but I've learned that if I shoot for "better," instead of "perfect," then I don't get paralyzed.

  5. Perfectionist tendencies seem to abound in our group! I have to tell myself that doing SOMETHING is better than worrying about being PERFECT and not getting anything done. You're on the right track, Fran!

  6. LOL, my husband does that "back of the envelope" thing and it drives me insane. Not only do we have a boatload of clutter-causing envelopes, but he can never find what he's looking for. I keep trying to push the ol' "put your sources in your software" thing, but it mostly falls on deaf ears. One day, I'm going to hide all the envelopes and see what happens!

    Kudos on your organizing job! :-)

  7. Great job with your organizing. Very enjoyable this post and I learned that you can scan directly to OneNote. Thank you!

  8. Love that you are sharing your process. I have added a link to this post on my Genealogical Jump Start Series. Don't know how I missed this! Jennifer