This week we will be working on the final section of the Hanging Surname Folders. We will be concentrating on surnames beginning with the letters M-Z. For those of you following along with us, your filing system should be looking much better then it did before.

Remember now, as you go through this last section don't forget the guidelines we have been using:


2. Narrow minded

3. Sensible

4. Very Judgmental

Pick up the first piece of paper in your pile. READ IT. Read it carefully using common sense and reasoning.

Ask yourself:

What surname does this information apply to?

Remember, if it is more then one surname, it goes into the Category Folders.

What person in that surname does this apply to?

Use either one of the main children or their father for your separations.

Is this information pertinent to my current research or is it just garbage?

If you have already past that point in time and this item doesn't work, then it is garbage.

Is it a repeat of something else I have already?

How many copies of it do you really need?

Is it riddled with errors?

If this particular item, is error filled, first of all be suspicious of the remaining data. If there are items in it that you know are correct, then keep it, but paperclip a small note on the top letting you know of the errors; or pointing out the items you know are fact.

Is it something that belongs more in a Category Folder then a Surname Folder?

If it belongs in the Category Folder, put it there; don't clutter your surname folder with this. These items would include census pages, multiple form records such as birth, marriages or deaths; unless they just pertain to one family surname. These items can also include some thing like a Will; although it applies to only one person, it may be the ONLY data you have on a person/surname- in that instance don't waste a folder but store it in the categories under that designation. These also INCLUDE THE OBITUARIES and PHOTOS.


Don't get really excited though; we aren't completely done with the organization of your data yet.

Once you have completed working with the M-Z folders this week--

You should have one stack of papers left that you have been setting aside to be placed in your "Category Folders".

At this point, you can begin sorting these out into the various folders you will need to make based on your particular researching.

Right now you aren't creating the folders yet, just determining which ones you WILL need to be creating. It will be best to wait on creating them until you have sorted through all of your papers first to get the best idea.

Don't forget that other pile that some of you might have; the "I have no idea what to do with this" pile. See if any papers can be incorporated into your Category Folders.


When you begin creating your Category Folders, just remember that there are two categories that will have multiple folders. These are:

Obituaries - these should be divided into probably about 5 different folders depending on how your individual surnames run. You might try A-C; D-G; H-K; L-P; Q-Z

These above separations are merely "suggestions". You might have more obituaries within a certain letter and wish to lessen the amount of letters going into one folder. For each family surname create a separate manila folder labeled appropriately to fit inside your hanging folder.

Census-- Again I would divide these into sections for ease of locating. As there are several different names on a page, you may not need as many divisions. I use only A-L and M-Z.

Be careful in your creation of Category Folders, you don't want to create a whole folder for just one paper.

Next week, we will focus on a different type of data organization.