Genealogy is a work in progress. You know that, right? It is never finished, can always be refined, one more thing can be researched, and so on…forever.
I did make a little progress in organizing my George Long binder. But as I was doing that, I discovered that I really needed to work on his digital folder so that it would match up with the binder, and then I could work on both at the same time as I work through documents.
My document process is (not necessarily in this direct order, but all of these things are done with each document):
- Look at the document. Decide to whom it belongs.
- Make sure the document is scanned if it wasn’t already digital.
- Affix a citation to the image. If it is already printed I sometimes make a label to stick to the printed document. If it is possible, I use my word processor (Mac Pages) or Snag-It to digitally affix a citation to the image. I then reprint if necessary. But by whatever means, I get a citation on that document.
- I make sure the citation is in my master footnotes list. (See “Touch it Once Citations“)
- Put the digital item in the correct folder.
- In my genealogy software (Reunion) I input the data if it hasn’t been already. I link the digital image to the source in the software.
- I put the document in a plastic sleeve and put it in the correct location in my physical binder.
As I was working on George Long, I kept getting hung up when I needed to put the document in the digital folder. So, I took the time to get George’s folders titled and organized properly.
The digital filing is not complete, by any stretch. You can see some “Brandeberry” files that I need to put in the correct location. This was a second marriage for daughter Martha and I just need to decide how I create second marriage folders. Right now, I can think of two solutions. One, create a sub-folder within the folder titled “LONG (ch8) Martha & Jacob Hentges” that is titled “LONG Martha & BRANDEBERRY – second marriage.” Or two, create a folder “LONG (ch8) MARTHA & John Brandeberry” and leave it in the same level of folder. What I don’t recall and will need to investigate is did that second marriage produce any children? Are there any documents I need to store for John Brandeberry? If I don’t have much of anything or if they had no children, I may not make a digital folder. I may just put the documents in the Jacob Hentges folder. (I would still enter the data for this second marriage in my genealogy software, of course.)
These the kinds of decisions you have to make when you are getting your files organized. How do I do it? You have to decide what is going to work for you and stick to it. I will get back to organizing the paper files now that I have this organization system ready to go. I learned that I can’t think of it as two separate projects/systems. They really are each part of the larger system.