June 3, 2014

The Organized Genealogist

I've recently put forth an enormous amount of effort to get my research and documentation organized. For the 50th time. Every time I think I've found a method that suits me, I realize I didn't think about this or that. Or my collection of documents has gotten so large I have to think of better ways to organize it all so I'll know what the heck I actually have. 

As part of my determination to get organized, I've put my handy dandy ScanSnap through it's paces. I love my new scanner!  It's so quick and easy. 

Here's what I did:

  1. Marched through 30 years of research in file folders taking up two file cabinet drawers. 
  2. Tossed the junk and sorted the rest into documentation type:  birth certificate, death certificate, marriage bond, etc. 
  3. Sorted each type of document by surname. 
  4. Scoured each document for missed details and added those to my database. (This look a LONG time!)
  5. Created a binder for each major surname. (Don't ask me what I'm going to do about my minor surnames. Have no idea.)
  6. Created divider tabs for each type document.
  7. Put the document into a sheet protector and in it's appropriate place in the binder.
  8. Made sure each document had been scanned and assigned to the appropriate ancestor in my database.
  9. Proudly placed the binder in my bookcase.
Understand that I've only done steps 4 - 7 so far for my Stancil line. Have about 40 more to go.

As for my backups, I keep all my digital files including FTM on Dropbox in the cloud. And I uploaded and regularly sync my database with Ancestry. About once a year, I make CDs of all my pictures and stash in a safe deposit box. Should probably do this more often. 

It's taken me a lot of late nights with a glass of good Chardonnay at the ready, but I think I've got a solid plan in place. The best thing about my efforts is I can now clearly see where my documentation gaps are. And there are a LOT of them.

One of the things that lit this fire under me is the Facebook page entitled The Organized Genealogist. Offers some great advice and other nerds to discuss it with.

I watched some of the YouTube videos on the topic, but they didn't do much for me. 

I also really appreciate the Genealogy Insider blog. GREAT STUFF!

Now get busy!  

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