I’m a bit late with Randy’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun Challenge. Mostly because I had to crawl out from my rock of embarrassment before I could write this post. This week is True Confessions…just how organized am I? And, I would say, not very, but I am working on it.
I’m giving myself a B grade for filing and organizing. I only have a handful of sheets packed somewhere in the garage that need to be filed. My genealogy book shelf is a vision to behold. A binder for every line, family group sheets in dividers, documents behind family group sheets. Yes, it is a wonder for all to see.
The next step on this tour is the computer files. I give myself a big fat D! I have hundreds and hundreds of documents on my computer. They are in the 2009 Genealogy Research folder. Some are by surname, some by type of research. There are multiple folders and multiple copies of documents. Some are input, some not. Some input but without sources. Some printed, some not. All are a mess.
It’s so bad that at the beginning of this year, I began a massive reorganizing and analysis project. I’ve written about it before in this blog. I have a new folder system that is organized in a more logical fashion by side of the tree, then by generation. I’m going from that old 2009 folder and checking each document one by one. I’m giving them file names I understand and adding input at the end once it is input. I have found that alot of them are done, but many are not. But, because I was systemless before I have no way of knowing.
Here’s my plea for mercy 😉 Three things happened that caused such disorganization.
1) My dog got sick in 2008 (passed away in July of 2009) and then my Dad’s health worsened (passed away May 2011) But, there was a period from 2006-2010 where one family health crisis hit after another. So during that period, I collected alot of data, and then didn’t have the energy to process it.
2) So many new databases have appeared online in the last 3-4 years that I have to admit to being overwhelmed. I’m not complaining! If certain databases were made available right now I would stop everything and research. I want more and more to become available. But, I’m been like a document junky. I collect documents but I don’t get them input.
3) I bet I’m not alone in this one. I never could foresee just how much genealogy would change in the last 10-15 years, how much information would become available, and how lines that were dead to me would suddenly be obtainable research wise. This is why my organization is so crappy. Until the last few months, I never stepped back and really thought about what would be the easiest and most efficient way for me to organize my computer files because I never dreamed I’d have so darn many of them! I wish 10 years ago I had had the foresight to know what a mess I was creating, but I didn’t. So, now I work every day to clean it up and get it right.
The last part of this assessment is to note something that I’ve lost and refound now that I’m organizing. It happened this week as I was working on my French lines. I found an article on a cousin’s husband who committed suicide. When I had first found this article in 2007, I only knew that this surname was connected to my tree. I didn’t know how though. So, I put it in the unknown folder.
Since I did so much input and new research this week on this line, I had placed the family in it’s rightful place in the tree. When I came across the article, I realized whose husband it was. I had completely forgotten about this article and would not have realized that this guy had committed suicide had I not come across it again.
So…my real world organization is excellent. If someone asked me today, I could pull a binder down and instantly find the family group sheet. But, my computer organization is terrible…but on the mend. My goal is to have all this cleared out before the 1940 census becomes available. Because I know that all will be abandoned once I have the ability to search the 1940 census. Once I am organized then it will be a piece of cake to keep it that way.
So much room for improvement on my part!
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com