Over the years I have collected an awful lot of papers pertaining to various ancestors. Some of them are organized into folders, others are in notebooks and still others are loose. So my resolution for this year in terms of genealogy was to get those papers organized.
I looked at a variety of different methods for organizing them: How to Organize Your Files; Organizing your Records. You can use file folders, notebooks, and numbering systems. I decided that the notebook scheme would work best for me. I used loose leaf notebooks to organize my courses when I taught, so this seemed comfortable for me.
Not wanting to get totally overwhelmed, I decided to begin with the lines of my grandparents—Richards, Hannah, Eitelbach and Minarcik. So the first step was to buy four notebooks, each a different color. That way each line is a different color and I can tell at a glance what the line is. I also bought clear plastic page protectors, and section dividers. Now I had no excuse. I decided to start with the shortest line, the Minarciks, as it would be the easiest and would give me some sense of accomplishment as well as find out if this was really going to work for me.
I began by sorting the pages into categories by person—Regina, Charles Jr., Charles Sr. and Joseph. For each person then put the pages in order—I wanted each person’s section to begin with the basic information--a family group sheet and if it was available: birth, marriage and death records.
At the beginning of each notebook, I put a pedigree chart. Then, for each person, beginning with the most recent one, I put each page into its page protector and then into the notebook—maroon for the Minarciks. Each person separated by a page divider.
There is one thing missing—a list of what I have for each person. I looked at some checklists on line, but I want to come up with my own checklist for each person that will tell me exactly what I have in terms of documentation as well as what I do not have. There is one other loose end. I have not decided what to do with the pictures I have of people. They are generally of odd sizes so typical picture pages will not work and I think they could end up in a heap in the bottom of a page protector.
So what is my reaction to this method of organizing? So far, I am pleased with it. All the information for the Minarcik line is in one place. I can easily find what I am looking for. It would be easy to add additional documents. On the negative side, it took me a good deal of time to organize a rather short line.