Saturday, January 14, 2012

January 14

January 13 – File loose documents in your family history binder or file folders. Is your research filing system the best one for how you work? See Sharon DeBartolo Carmacks’ Organizing Your Family History Search by Betterway Books for organization options.

I found this book very useful for me. I went from a binder system to file folder system. My system is based on my grandparents. My paternal grandfather’s and his ancestor’s get blue folders. My paternal grandmother and her ancestor’s get yellow folders. My maternal grandfather and his ancestors get green folders and my maternal grandmother and her ancestor’s get purple folders. I use both hanging and file folders. My hanging folders have family surnames on them. These are alphabetized. Then the file folders stored within the hanging folders have individual family groups. The file folder label has the husband’s name on the top line and the wife’s name, slightly indented on the second line. I capitalize the last names.
I don’t have file folders for every family group, but for my direct ancestors and their siblings. Their siblings’ descendants will be found in the siblings folder. I do have the ability to expand this filing system and create a siblings hanging file folder with descendants folders within that folder. Currently I haven’t done that yet, but I could see the need to do this when the folder get too cumbersome.

I don’t file loose documents until I have documented the source in my computer program. I also try to scan the document and file it properly on my computer. That is another subject and you will find helpful hints in Sharon’s book.
January 14 – Now that you have created all these file folders or binders, make an index of what’s in each file folder or binder. Post in on the front of the folder or binder. Create a master index, too.

Using Excel might be an easy way to keep these indexes. You can create a column titled, folder or binder. Then when you sort by folder or binder, you would have the individual index. You can then have a master index sorted by whatever method you want, by record type, by individual name or both.
The index doesn’t need to be too complex, perhaps just folder/binder; individual name, document type, document name. Example: SMITH , John SMITH, Census, 1850 US Census or SMITH, John Smith, Birth Certificate.

If you have a lot of people with the same name in your file, the individual’s name might include a date range such as birth-death as in SMITH, John SMITH (1832-1898), Census, 1850 US Census.
When creating your index, start off with more information, you can always remove a field if you find that it’s not useful or needed.

No comments:

Post a Comment