2008 Genea Bloggers Summer Games Competition · General Genealogy · Organizing Documents · photographs

Organizing Documents and Filing Them Away

The next challenge I faced in the Genea Blogger Games was to organize at least 20 hard files and file them in their appropriate place. I had a stack of documents that I’ve input but never got around to filing, so I worked on that.

I do not use folders. I found out years ago that folders and I don’t get along. Either you can’t find the folder or you can’t find the file within the folder.

Binders work so much better for me. I have a million binders (I’m exaggerating a little…just a little). I think every genealogist needs to finds a filing method that works best for them. If what you’re doing now doesn’t work, try other ways of organizing your data.

Each of my binders represents a group of families. These are some of my binders:

Jozimas de Braga and Maria da Conceicao de Mello and Descendants

Antonio Pacheco and Alexandrinha Jose

de Braga/de Mello Binder 1

Kelly-Dolan Lines

Jones Jackson Lines

Boisvert Families

La Grange Families

Associated Families Binder 1

Each binder starts with the oldest ancestral couple, then is divided by each generation. For each couple, there is a family group sheet. Behind the family group sheet is every document I have for that couple and their unmarried children and any notes I’ve written about the family. I might also slip tombstone photographs and other tidbits I don’t have any other place for behind the family group sheet.

This works so much better for me than folders. When I’m thinking about a genealogy problem, I go to the binder and everything I want is right there. If I call a cousin, I pull the binder down carefully trying not to kill myself by dislodging all the other binders, and can easily look up whatever we are referring to.

So, I got my stack of papers and got to work. I had to sort the stack by family groups. Kelly-Dolan, Lassalle-Mazeres, Breilh-Segalas, Jones-Jackson, Pacheco, de Braga, and Associated Families. Once that was done, I organized the sheets by binder and family group.

Then came the hard work. I decided to work on the Kelly-Dolan/Jones-Jackson documents as that equaled 30 pages. It took me about an hour to get them all filed away.

I learned something while I worked on this “element”. I have been really bad at keeping my binders up to date. I found documents stuffed in the front pockets that were labelled “need fgs”. I found documents that I hadn’t figured out what to do with in the inside pockets. It shows how life interferes with our best intentions. It also shows how easily genealogy research can get out of hand.

I’ll continue to file the rest of the documents as I don’t want that sorted stack to get mixed up with something else. Then I’ll have to start over!

Another challenge completed 🙂

2 thoughts on “Organizing Documents and Filing Them Away

  1. I like binders too but I have some of my materials in files in a filing cabinet as well as some in plastic storage bins that can take hanging files and of course some material that is not in any of the systems. I hope during this next week, I will get some more organized by one of my systems.

    My most organized binders are for my Stiver connection. One binder for the original immigrant ancestor and then one for each of his children. I organize them by their Henry number of organization.

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