Wednesday, September 25, 2013

By George she's got it!

Major organizational success here!

I've been working on organizing my document "stash" since August.  Stash is the right description for the state of affairs when I started - assorted piles, files, and boxes - many of which I had used to document events in my Legacy genealogy program on my computer - none of which I could reliably find when needed. 

Since I'm relatively new at genealogy, I knew from the small number of documents I currently have and the disorganized mess I had made of them, that I needed to figure this out before moving forward with more research.  Here's what I ended up with:

Original files binders, one per grandparent surname: Hanson, Hintz, Sullivan, Bednorz. Of course the Sullivan binder is GREEN!

Subsections in the binders for types of document: artifacts, birth, census, church, death, family tree, ID, immigration, legal, marriage, military, newspaper clippings, and personal correspondence. 

With a ton of help from my sister Nancy, each original was scanned then put into archival page protectors.  Each page protector was labeled so it could be put away again.  The label included the binder surname, a file ID number, the subsection name, the name of the person, the year of the document and any description needed. 

Digital files were renamed LastNameFirstNameYYYYDescriptionFileIDNumber (example: SullivanPat2009Will00003.pdf) and filed in my Dropbox folders that were set up to match the binders. 

The pièce de résistance is the Excel spreadsheet I made that connects the digital and print copies of the original document.  Now I can look at the spreadsheet and find any file - digital or print - quickly.  I can sort by surname or by file name to find all the documents related to a family or an individual. 

A huge weight has been lifted but a ton of work still needs to be done. At least now I've got a way to move forward without creating an even bigger mess. 
It wouldn't be fair to claim credit for all this progress.  First I need to thank Nancy Walters who has been coming by for weeks to help figure this all out. She puts things away when done with them. Novel concept. Then I have to acknowledge all the helpful tips, ideas and confessions from the Facebook Organized Genealogist group.  I borrowed much wisdom from them in finding my personal solution.  

Now if only my house were this organized. Is it too early in the day for a celebratory glass of wine?

No comments:

Post a Comment