Back in December, the FINALLY Get Organized! series was announced on DearMyrtle. I quickly knew that this was something I really need, and am hopeful that breaking this mammoth project down into smaller, weekly goals would help me get my genealogy papers under control. So far, so good. I've actually stuck with it for the first month, and if nothing else happens, at least my desk is now under control! (Now, if only my office at work was this neat....but I digress.)
I have limited space, so instead of using binders, I am changing to hanging files. I'm also scanning everything, and saving only a few selected documents in the hanging files.
One of my biggest challenges this month was deciding where to store my digital files and creating a naming system for them. I finally decided to put all of my genealogy files in my Dropbox, so I can access them no matter where I am. From there, I have one subdirectory per surname, where I put all of my documents. Each surname has folder has only one subdirectory, for photos. The file naming system I finally settled on is:
This groups all of one person's files together, sorted chronologically. For family records, such as the census, I use only the head of household in the file name.
If this week's assignment was any indication, we will be working on our maternal grandfather's family next week. My mother has researched her family for over 30 years, and I have very little of it in my Legacy file. I need to decide fairly quickly whether I'm going to start documenting her work now, or skip it and focus on other things those weeks. For now I'm leaning towards adding her research to Legacy bit by bit, and started by adding my aunts and uncles - all 10 of them!
I'm so happy that DearMyrtle is doing this! I tend to have an all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to big projects, and usually "nothing" wins. Organizing genealogy files - defines big project. Nothing has definitely won so far. (Hello, Captain Obvious!). With FINALLY Get Organized!, the weekly task lists are manageable, and if you want to use a different storage method, easily adaptable to the system that works for you. This approach is also forcing me to re-evaluate the work I've already done, and I'm finding documents that need to be ordered and new research questions. Now that I'm FINALLY Getting Organized, I am keeping track of those documents and research questions in Legacy, making my research system more organized, too!