It’s that time of the year when we hope to organize our closets, our lives, our diets, and our genealogy! The beginning of a new year feels like the best time to try something new to corral those areas of our life that need it. Genealogy is by its nature a hobby that proliferates data, documents, pictures, maps, and ephemera. I can promise that I don’t have all the answers but here are some ideas. Let’s look.
The January/February 2023 issue of FamilyTree Magazine’s Organize Your Files in a Day, by Andrew Koch, seems to promise the impossible. He has some great ideas about what you can and cannot accomplish when organizing your genealogy in a day. Please read his full article to gain some great insights into what works when organizing your family history. I found his project to avoid section useful too. Here are two of his tips that spoke to me:
1. Don’t do actual record research. Ah how many times have we started organizing, realized we were missing a key document and suddenly were in the rabbit hole of research. Guilty as charged.
2. Don’t assume you can scan all your photos and documents in one day. It may not be possible to do this physically with your equipment or the number of items to be scanned. A better solution is to identify the items to scan and make an actionable plan for scanning them in the future.
Check out additional suggestions from others in the genealogy field. There are different approaches to getting organized and one of these might speak to you.
Four Tried and True Systems for Organizing Genealogy Research - The Family Curator
How To Organize Genealogy Data - The Genealogy Guide
23 Secrets to Organize Your Genealogy Free eBook (familytreemagazine.com)
Organizing Your Genealogy Files: A Practical Approach | Amy Johnson Crow
Organize Your Genealogy • FamilySearch
I hope that you are inspired to organize your family history documents and pictures. I am committing to one hour per week to organize my papers. An hour doesn’t sound like a lot but it is certainly more than I spend on average in a month. It is always easier to think about doing it “tomorrow”. Perhaps I’ll treat myself to more research after I organize. Now the trick will be to keep the new research organized as I go! Happy organizing!
With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.