This page was updated April 22, 2005

Link Checked April 23, 2009

It's the end November....

In many parts of our researching area, winter and cold, nasty weather will soon be upon us.

For that reason, I chose this beautiful background to dream about when the winds start blowing.

Aside from a good cup of hot chocolate or coffee, a roaring fire and a good book. The only other thing that this time of year is really great for is doing that stuff that gets pushed off during the spring and summer when you are outside or traveling and researching.

That's right......I am going to say that bad word.......ORGANIZATION!

Yeah, I know I am a real pain in the butt with this stuff. However, I just firmly believe that your data is totally useless if you cannot find it half of the time. I also know that as conscientious as most of us are in our researching; the organization of those findings is something that quite frequently takes a back seat to everything else. We are always going to do it later. (Well, its later, folks.)

I felt that this new section would help us get this done. We can do it together and in bits and pieces (on the installment plan) and maybe it won't be so painful. I am going to try to design this so that anyone can get organized at any time of year whenever they decide to pop in here, they can just use the links below.

I don't want anyone out there thinking "Ok, today I am going to get organized, lets do it". I am planning on this taking some time through the winter months to prepare you for that new stock of data you will find in the spring. Just pace yourself so this will not seem like such a terrible and overwhelming task. My goal is for everyone to get organized and be a more efficient researcher.

I want to point out that although I will be basing these organizational installments on my own supplies and methods; it doesn't mean you have to run out to the store to buy anything.


I use CD's extensively; but if you don't have them, floppy disks work just as well as do zip disks.

I use a filing cabinet (albeit a very small one); but a cardboard box or drawer will work just as well.

I research as inexpensively as I can. There is no reason to spend unnecessary money on supplies when it can better be spent on document copies and film.

I use hanging folders for my main folders. These are intially more expensive; however, they have a changeable labeling system and can be reused as your researching needs change. Therefore they are in the end cheaper.

I use manilla folders and just tons of white stickers to change the folder topic. This is cheaper then rebuying the folders. (I bought 100 manilla folders for $5.00 about 5 years ago and keep re-using them.)

I use recycled items as much as I can. By that I don't mean that I use environmentally safe materials.

What that means is that if I have entered a piece of printed email or data into my genealogical program and it is only one sided, well it gets cut into squares and stapled. The reverse side is used for various "notes" I take in researching or if you will "scratch paper". I don't do this to be "environmentally correct"; I do it cause I am cheap!

I use the FamilyTreemaker genealogical database system; however, anything you use is fine, as long as you use something.

I make the above statements so that you realize that I am not buying stock in the office supply store and you don't need to either. I will be working on my own organization along with you.

It will work best to be on the alphabetical system as none of us will be using the same surnames, so it is pointless to try that. In the first step I will detail my filing system for you. This is by no means meant to state that this is the definitive procedure to use. I have however found it works best after trying several different ones. Adjust it if you feel the need.

One last item-- As this is a joint project, if you find that you have a particularly good idea in your organization of data; please submit it to me for addition to our project and let others benefit from it also.

The Filing System

Week One--The Beginning

Week Two--Sorting It Out A-F

Week Three--Sorting It Out G-L

Week Four--Sorting It Out M-Z

Week Five--Other Data Storage

Week Six-- Making your CD's Work for you

Week Seven-- How Many Notebooks and Why?

Week Eight-- Citing Your Sources


Debbie Jennings

Website Creator