Have you been following all of the Facebook posts about organizing and tracking your genealogy research? If you haven’t then you might want to check out some of these posts:
- The Genealogy Squad – search for ‘organizing‘ posts
- The Organized Genealogists – check out the files submitted to this group
If you haven’t joined these or other genealogy groups on Facebook, then you are missing out on a lot of help!
Because of the recent discussions around organizing one’s genealogy, I thought I’d share what I’ve found useful. Since my genealogy adventure began prior to the Internet, I started with a lot of paper. Thus, I had to have a way to organize it so I could go back and find my notes. As Drew Smith has suggested, I used the SURNAME as my first level of organization. Because I had too much information to fit in one folder for the SURNAME, I subdivided my notes. Below is an example of how those folders were named for one of my surnames:
- Crawford – Letters
- Crawford – Census
- Crawford – Kansas
- Crawford – Indiana
- Crawford – Ohio
- Crawford – Kentucky
- Crawford – Virginia
As my research has broadened to include the siblings and others of the Surname living in the area, I started adding sub-folders for those individuals. At first, I was just using the person’s name for the folder. However, the computer would sort those folder alphabetically. Growing frustrated with the alphabetical arrangement, I changed the way I named the folders to put the year of the person’s birth first. Thus, the folders get arranged chronologically.
I have applied the same concept to my file names. When I find a record for an individual, I start the file name with the date of the document, followed by brief sourcing info and end with the name(s) associated with the document.
It took me a while to develop this organization method and naming pattern. And, my system is far from perfect, but it works for me.