Trials in Genealogy Organization

Organization Issues

Can you relate?

After writing last week’s post, I was still very excited about my recent findings and wanted to continue searching for my next big breakthrough. Unfortunately, our schedule for the week was pretty full, so instead I focused what free time I had on finishing up my Irish Research and US Military classes, and also coming up with a plan of attack for something I have been putting off for way too long…organization!

My research thus far has mostly resembled a dog chasing cars.  I start looking for specific information on one ancestor, and then I end up chasing after other tips that show up, and before you know it I’m down the rabbit hole researching another ancestor and have completely forgotten what I first started looking for.  I’d taken the time to interview relatives, but then had left my notes buried in notebooks and file folders that I had yet to add to my tree.

Another organizational problem is that I haven’t taken a good look at my records.  I would find the records and link them to my tree with whatever fields happened to be indexed.  Most of the documents actually had a lot more information than just the indexed fields.  For example, the California Voter Registration document I found for my great-great grandfather, William Robert Lindsay, indexed only the city he lived in and his voter registration date.  But in looking at the record, I can see that he 5’7” tall, had brown hair and lived at 112 Noe Street with his brother David Fischer Lindsay.  That’s a much more interesting find than just knowing when he registered to vote!

So my master plan is to slowly but surely go through all of my documents and notes, gather all the information I can, and then file them in folders with other documents of the same surname.  Then the ongoing battle of sticking to my plan and keeping organized will officially begin.  I’ll update you next week on how I do, and also will share what I’ve found so far for my mother’s paternal line (Blake).  Have a great week!

Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Brian Parotto of Hampshire, Ill.

Here are some of the tools Brian is using to launch his genealogy education. Check them out:



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