Organize Your Genealogy

Organize Your Genealogy

It’s the lazy, hazy days of summer and with that comes time to… organize your genealogy! Here in Florida, it’s hot and while you’re inside soaking up the A/C, put some of these tips and tricks to work, organizing your genealogy.


Organize and Document AS YOU GO!

The FamilySearch Wiki on organizing your files lays a good foundation for any genealogy filing system. This wiki reviews the value of organization and the principles behind why organization is so important in genealogy. Next, the wiki discusses how to set up an organized system using binders, folders, and what files should be included. The wiki ends with how to stay organized using document numbers and filing orders.

FamilySearch has a great tip! Do NOT change your old files to a new note keeping system all at once. Start slowly with just the one family you are researching right now. Wait to organize the file of another family until you start research on that family.


Organize Your Family History

Janine Adams of Organize Your Family History is a professional organizer and genealogy enthusiast who blogs about organizational challenges and solutions! She discusses a variety of ways to get your genealogy organized and has monthly challenges to help you stay focused. One really great post is called Do Something with that Box, outlining tips from the RootsTech session by Stacy Julian.


Use Trello to Create Genealogy Research Plans

Many genealogists, like Lisa Lisson, have started to use Trello to organize their genealogy research. Trello is a free task and project management tool that uses boards, lists, and cards. Cards can have attachments, checklists, and even due dates to help you organize. Lisa details how she uses Trello in her own research and builds out a board, step by step in her article.


9 Habits of Highly Organized Genealogists

FamilyTree Magazine shares their best advice for avoiding getting buried under mounds of family photos, vital records certificates, census page printouts, family tree charts, and other records:

  1. Keep the big picture in mind.
  2. Take charge of paper files.
  3. Go digital.
  4. Establish an organizational routine.
  5. Take advantage of tech tools.
  6. Designate a workspace.
  7. Color-code folders and files.
  8. Use a numbering system.
  9. Create a kit for on-site research.

They also have an eBook 23 Secrets to Organize Your Genealogy.


The Organized Genealogist

Do you want advice from other genealogists? The private Facebook group The Organized Genealogist boasts over 37,000 members who all share their tips and tricks for organizing their genealogy. They include a guide from Cousin Russ called The Organized Genealogist File Listing Directory that’s available after joining.


Organizing Your Research

Cyndi’s List has been around for more than 20 years and it’s a great starting point for resources on the Internet. Cyndi has organized her list into:

  • Bookmarks & Read-it-Later Tools
  • Filing Systems
  • General Resources
  • Inventories
  • OneNote for Genealogy
  • Photographs
  • Printable Charts & Forms, and Publications
  • Software & Supplies

There is no “one size fits all” solution to organizing your genealogy, so if you haven’t found the right solution yet, don’t worry. As you sift through the many solutions online, use an easy and simple system that helps you stay in control of your research so you can spend more time finding your ancestors.