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Scott Signal
05 March 2008, 01:08 PM
Hi all,

I was just curious if anybody wanted to share methods they use for cataloging, storing information, forms, etc.

I just bought a portable file to store all the information I'm gathering in the form of death certificates, marriages licenses, high school and college diplomas, etc. I've also found that having two notebooks helps me organize my thoughts and the information I gather. One is to take notes from conversations and phone calls, and the other I'm using as a genealogy journal to organize the notes that I take and other info I come across. I personally find this easier than creating and storing word docs.

Anyway, just thought I'd share. Any comments or suggestions are welcome.

Scott

Roxanne
05 March 2008, 10:03 PM
A few years back my hubby bought me a beautiful wooden 2 drawer sideways filing cabinet so I use that to store all paper I have (certificates, censuses, etc) and I have a separate file folder for each family.

For my genealogy emails (my contacting others, others contacting me, etc about family or possible family) I save them all in text format so that I can search them easily and not have to worry about losing them if my computer crashes, or take up extra space. I saved them into text files and burn them onto a cd.

And then, I have another cd that I call "genealogy" and on it I burn scanned images of obituaries and also pictures I take of headstones (I group them by family name).

When I first started in genealogy I used to print off all emails and obituaries and basically anything I found in genealogy and just found that my filing cabinet was getting stuff and so not fun to flip through page by page in each folder that I have been burning more and more onto CD. But things like vital certificates, marriage invitations, death cards, etc I scan an image of it to save on CD and file the original in my filing cabinet. That way if anything happens to my papers, I still have my genealogy cds (one at home and one off-site for safe storage).

I do the same with my family tree file from reunion - I have it backed up on a stick kept with me in my purse and also burned onto a cd and kept off-site.

Ursula
06 March 2008, 05:35 AM
Finally beginning to view and organize all the papers and things my mother collected, thanks God!, I

linders
06 March 2008, 12:54 PM
I have a tall, 5 drawer, file cabinet organized by Families. WIthin this organization each family/person have folders that contain birth/death/marriage certificates, letters etc. If I have scanned anything it is always on acid free paper. Originals are filed with scanned.
Bottom draw is limited to bibles stored in Archival boxes. Pictures that are fading are Photoshoped and then printed on Acid free photo paper. I also have a large backup for my computer files. As you see I worry about losing everything.

I get my supplies from

http://globalgenealogy.com/archival/

Scott Signal
06 March 2008, 03:40 PM
I have a tall, 5 drawer, file cabinet organized by Families. WIthin this organization each family/person have folders that contain birth/death/marriage certificates, letters etc. If I have scanned anything it is always on acid free paper. Originals are filed with scanned.
Bottom draw is limited to bibles stored in Archival boxes. Pictures that are fading are Photoshoped and then printed on Acid free photo paper. I also have a large backup for my computer files. As you see I worry about losing everything.

I get my supplies from

http://globalgenealogy.com/archival/

Thanks for the info and the link.

Scott

Karen Peters
09 March 2008, 10:50 AM
Hi all,

I was just curious if anybody wanted to share methods they use for cataloging, storing information, forms, etc.
...I personally find this easier than creating and storing word docs.

Anyway, just thought I'd share. Any comments or suggestions are welcome.

Scott

Scott,

My approach is a little different than yours. I've been trying to move away from paper as much as possible. My goal is to make everything searchable, so it is easy to find my stored information. The database program I use is DevonThink Pro Office. When I find new information, I add it to the database, either directly if it's already electronic or scanning if it's on paper. I also run OCR on documents to make them searchable if possible. Otherwise, I create an RTF document with the important information and link it to the scanned document. I have just finished transcribing all my census records into the "sheets" feature of DevonThink (they're mini-spreadsheets, so I don't have to fire up Excel). It was a pain, but I think it will be worth it in the long run.

The advantage of going paperless is that it easy to search and backup up your copies. I have two external harddrives, I keep a copy of my database on my iPod and keep copies on DVDs offsite. The disadvantage is of course that the database program probably won't be around in 100 years but acid-free paper will.


Besides I am making copies and burning them to CD / DVD and backup everything on hard-disks. I am not yet sure, if I should make digital copies from every old photograph. There are too many of them, how do you handle this?

My advice, from bitter experience, is to prioritize and scan the most important ones first and then the others as time allows. Our family had a picture of my 2nd great-grandfather and his brother in their Civil War uniforms. Years ago, it was expensive to get a copy of a photo, so we kept putting it off. So, of course the photo was lost. As a consolation, I do have some great shots of my great-grandmother's neighbors. Fisherman have stories about the big fish that got away, genealogists have stories about the lost family bible and the disappearing photos!

Cheers!

Scott Signal
09 March 2008, 09:16 PM
Scott,

My approach is a little different than yours. I've been trying to move away from paper as much as possible. My goal is to make everything searchable, so it is easy to find my stored information. The database program I use is DevonThink Pro Office. When I find new information, I add it to the database, either directly if it's already electronic or scanning if it's on paper. I also run OCR on documents to make them searchable if possible. Otherwise, I create an RTF document with the important information and link it to the scanned document. I have just finished transcribing all my census records into the "sheets" feature of DevonThink (they're mini-spreadsheets, so I don't have to fire up Excel). It was a pain, but I think it will be worth it in the long run.

The advantage of going paperless is that it easy to search and backup up your copies. I have two external harddrives, I keep a copy of my database on my iPod and keep copies on DVDs offsite. The disadvantage is of course that the database program probably won't be around in 100 years but acid-free paper will.


Karen,

I realized after I posted this I was a little vague.

I'm keeping notebooks because it's easier for me to organize (not to mention retain in my memory) information that I accumulate through interviews and phone calls when I write it on paper. I keep these more as journals and reference.

I file all copies of vital records and so on, but scan them to keep digital backups as well. I have an external harddrive that I use to back everything up.

This is exactly why I posted this though: I wanted to see what other people do and get some ideas as I'm still quite new to this.

Thanks
Scott

Richard Folkerth
04 April 2008, 05:15 PM
Hi all,

I was just curious if anybody wanted to share methods they use for cataloging, storing information, forms, etc.

--- snip ---

Scott

SCOTT

This is a longish reply and may be more than you asked for ...

I have my files organized by topics and I store the paper copies in a file cabinet. My hard drive has the same topical breakdown. I would like to go paperless but I can't find decent OCR software and my typing is so poor that I simply cannot manually transcribe the paper stuff ... so I am being patient while OCR improves.

I wrote a brief definition of what I meant to be filed in each topic, see below. My wife and I use separate sets of files, one for her families and one for mine. This is feasible because the families simply do not intersect before we met. Each file topic has a possible numbering system, but I have not yet used this for anything. The numbering system may not be necessary.

FILE CATEGORIES & DEFINITIONS
yyyyCENxxx; US Federal Census records; grouped by year.

BIBxxx; Bible Records; transcriptions, copies, including birth, marriage & death records if they came from a bible, newspaper clippings & memorabilia found in a bible, etc.
BIOxxx; Biographies
BIRxxx; Birth Records; certificates, hospital, courthouse records, etc. Births listed in Bibles filed as Bible records.

CENxxx; Census data other than Federal; Agricultural, enumerations, etc.
CRTxxx; Courthouse Records (Other) which are not included in some specific category. This includes guardianship, lawsuit, probate, naturalization and criminal records but does NOT include birth, death, land, marriage/divorce and tax records. Each or these categories is listed separately. Wills & estate records also are filed separately.

DEAxxx; Death Records; certificates, Social Security death index info, cemetery records, funeral home records, burial sites, cemetery locations, etc. Deaths listed in Bibles filed in Bible records.

FAMxxx; Family Trees, including GEDCOM files.

LANxxx; Land Records; deeds, property location instructions, insurance papers, sale records, courthouse records, BLM data, etc.
LETxxx; Letters

MAPxxx; Maps; any map from whatever source,
MARxxx; Marriage or Divorce Records; certificates, licenses, courthouse records, church records, etc. Marriages listed in Bibles filed in Bible records.
MILxxx; Military Records

OBIxxx; Obituaries; from whatever source, mostly newspapers, some funeral programs, etc.
OTHxxx; Other Records that don't fit in a defined category. Published documents, with references and citations

MarilynKay
12 July 2008, 01:05 AM
After many false starts organizing my material, I finally hit on something that works for me. I'm working with all my lines at once, so I set up my Ahnentafel. My 4-drawer file cabinet is set up numerically according to the Ahnentafel numbers, with subheadings for whatever I need

Linda S
12 July 2008, 01:47 AM
I have always been big on saving paperwork. After two years of serious genealogy work I had two large filing cabinets filled. It took hours to find things, and I lost track of what I had.

I created a website, using TNG, and now make .jpg's of anything important. Up onto the web it goes. My cost is just over $4 a month, and my family and others can review what I have. When I go to a library, another state, or someone's home I have everything with me. And, I get quite a few contacts from the information.

Like all beginners, I took a while to catch on. The website was really a good move. For non-programmers TNG can be a bear to set up. I developed some glitches and chose to simply start over (and had a hosting company set it up). I currently have 8,000+ names and about 350 documents and photos online; with a current backlog of about 300 more photos and documents to upload (it takes a while, and I do that when I am brain-dead).

I use a small program called Image Well to resize and so forth--and it greatly expedites my work. After I upload, I send the file to a separate hard drive for storage. Also, I backup Reunion weekly, and backup the website often. Don't want to have to redo all these documents again.

Some day, when I am old and gray--I guess I am now--I will go back and edit to make the information read better and perhaps be a bit better organized.

That's how I am doing it, and I am very pleased with it.

Ron Snowden
Orem, Utah

John Yates
12 July 2008, 03:00 PM
I saw a presentation on the method on the Family Search (LDS) website that is described here:

http://www.123genealogy.com/organizer/

in particular:

http://www.123genealogy.com/organizer/instructions/index.htm

and the detailed instructions are at:

http://tinyurl.com/ng7ce

and liked it. I'm 3/4's the way of setting it up for 1500 people. Briefly it uses a different color (red, blue, yellow, green) for each of your grandparents, and the lines that go back from there. (until cousins marry, but they cover that). Hanging folders, colored folders, right tab folders are blood line, center tab folders are other relations, left tab folders surnames. Every family gets a folder, when the children marry, that's a new family.
A Family Group Sheet goes in every relevant folder, and pedigree charts go in all the family surname folders.

I find it very orderly and helpful. And when I go on a research trip to a library or wherever, I reach in the box, pull out out relevant folders () and go.

A folder in front of each group are working files of unfiled stuff and/or notes for what lies directly behind it.

All four colors can be in one file folder box, and as it expands it can take up a box (or drawer) for each color, or more.

And it is ideal for a descendant to inherit, and pick up exactly where you left off if they are so inclined. Just keep a copy of the filing instructions (found in the links above) in the first folder in the first box.

-John