Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Finally Get Organized! – Week 2

Well, I am already a week late on getting this blog post out. Not a good start on Finally Get Organized, but I am hanging in there and decided to record my progress.

For those of you, who might have come to this week first, this is thanks to DearMYTRLE’s Finally Get Organized blog. Check out this week’s blog at

First, back up your data – This is a great suggestion, because I did lose some of my information that I had on an external hard drive. I took this drive last summer with me to my summer home and I could not access any of the data. Plus the last time I did a backup was the previous November.  Lucky for me only my genealogy supporting documents were on this drive, and my genealogy database was on Dropbox along with the media file attached to it. So I might have lost some documents that I save first to my external hard drive, then I create my source citation and attach the document to the citation. If I failed to attach it to my citation, I at least have my citation and I am able to re-find the item and save it again. Therefore, I have been trying to come up with a monthly backup plan, such as a cloud based option along with another external hard drive option. Also, I will be copying my genealogy folder from my external hard drive to a flash drive, with a folder called “working” and any new data will be place into the working folder and the rest of the flash drive will be for reference only.  This flash drive is all I will take with me to my summer home.  My next step is to research cloud storage.

Decide on a genealogy management program – For me this is Family Tree Maker. I have been using this software package since about 1997. Now that plans to retire this software package, doesn’t mean I am jumping ship quite yet. However, I have started learning RootsMagic before Ancestry’s announcement and I am looking at cleaning my FTM files in case I need to switch quickly to another program.

Starting with yourself, ensure you’ve entered your personal data and that of the three older generations by that surname in your chosen genealogy management program.  This is my first project I am handling this week. I know I have those three generations in my program, but I am going to revisit each of these individuals, verify the place names, the citations and any media files attached. I will make sure that they are complete, and if I am missing anything, to create a to-do list of the missing items. 

Set aside a 3-ring binder for your surname – This I started years ago, because didn’t we all start with our surnames (maiden name for me)? ;-)

Label oversize tabbed 3-ring dividers and insert in the surname binder – I must admit that I am missing this item. However, I am not real big on binders either. I see where Ol’ Myrt is going with this, but I already have file folders in my hanging file drawer separated by the suggested generations.  Therefore, I don’t know if this is really what I want to do at this time.

Place the 4 family group sheets behind the appropriate generation dividers in your surname binder – Again, if I am staying with my hanging file folder system, I will put those family group sheets as the very first item in my file folders.

Scan and file photos and documents relating to each of these four generations in your surname/maiden name binder – This is exactly what I already have in each of my file folders. Ol’ Myrt suggested downloading documents from the Internet and this is exactly what I have done. I also have printouts of every census record found for these people.

As soon as you’ve scanned the, place all important “must save” photos and documents in top-loading page protectors. Done and done.  She stated that the rest of the photocopies may be discarded unless you are a die-hard paper-oriented genealogist. Yep, I am, I want paper especially for my direct line ancestors.

Create an introduction for those that follow – Great idea, having an introduction to quickly orient those who find your work later. You hate to have someone just throw away your paper files and erase or discard your digital work too.

Now the hard work, doing all the little steps that make up the introduction. I must admit, this is going to take me more than a week. I could easily see that I could use a binder just for this introduction. Explaining my file naming conventions, the locations of my files and my filing system, listing all my database files, where they are stored on my computer and which on-line websites might have a version too and how in-depth of a version.

Finally, adding a “genealogy codicil” to my will. I guess I need a will first. All I know is that I have threated my children, that if they get rid of my genealogy, that I will come back and haunt them. I guess this will not hold up in a court of law.

This week’s checklist has me looking at my genealogy with a whole new pair of eyes.  Now all this extra work might feel as if it takes the “fun” out of genealogy and from making new discoveries, however it also allows me to make sure my research is complete and meaningful to the next generation after me.

Back to doing all the steps.

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