THE SORTING OUT
For those of you following along with the organizational procedures, you should really be making some progress in your files.
As in last week, when we worked specifically with surnames beginning with A-F; this week will be be concentrating on surnames beginning with the letters G-L.
I am not going to be going over all the material that I detailed last week; just getting on with what we know from this point. If you have any questions about the procedures, please check last week's entry.
In looking at your desk or file cabinet area; you should have surname hanging folders covering surnames beginning with A-F completed.
You should also have a stack of papers remaining from where you gathered all of your miscellaneous "laying around papers" from last week. You know, those ones that didn't belong in surname folders A-F.
There should also be somewhere a stack of items that will eventually be placed in your "Category Folders".
As we did last week, you will begin this time by grabbing the first surname folder beginning with the letter "G" (or whatever the first one is for you within the G-L section.)
Take all the items out of that folder and carefully read them using the same criteria we used last week. Remember, stay brutally honest in your sorting.
Now, go through that stack of papers and sort them accordingly as you did before into the G-L section folders.
As you begin a NEW surname folder, count out just how many manila folders you will need based on the initial "main children" or the generational heads of household. However you have decided to do this. DON'T LABEL THEM YET, JUST GATHER ENOUGH.
After you have sorted through your current surname folder AND the stack of papers- and placed them into the correct folders in this new section;
then you can figure out which names need to be written on your dividing manila folders with those surnames based on how much paper data you have on a person.
Remember, don't waste a folder if it is just a single item; place it in the father's folder OR in the category section folders.
By this time in the organizational process, you should really have a good handle on the process to follow. Your stack of "gathered" papers should really be coming into line as far as being manageable. Just don't forget the each time you begin a "new" hanging surname folder, make certain to take all of the current contents out of it and add to the "stack of papers" before sorting. This ensures that ALL of your data is sorted out properly.
I realize that at this time your category folders (or actually the pile you are making for the category folders) is getting pretty large. We will be getting to those eventually, so just don't worry about them right now.
This process I am presenting is designed to do a few different things:
1. Allow you to be actively working on your genealogy during the winter months
2. Give you a second look at some of your saved data
3. Get organized and familiar with what you do have in your files
For a quick review
Stack One: All gathered paper data on desk, file cabinet, floor, etc or stuck randomly in your filing system
Stack Two: All paper data belonging in either Category folders or surname lettering section we haven't approached yet (M-Z)
Stack Three: All paper data that you are not quite certain what to do with
1. Upon starting a "new" surname hanging folder; remove all current data and add to stack 1.
2. Sort through checking for who each paper pertains to and also for content as to whether or not it should be kept at all- concentrating only on items belonging to surnames G-L.
3. Create manila folders within each surname folder based on what paper data you find in your stack.
4. Place each paper within the correct manila folder making certain that it wouldn't be better in a category folder.
Once you have completed working with Hanging Surname Folders of G-L this week, your stacks should be looking somewhat diminished from when we initially started. You should be feeling a sense of real accomplishment at this point.
(If you aren't then perhaps you need to resort papers and be more brutal in your process of getting rid of something unnecessary)
Of course, your stack of items belonging in the Category folders will be growing larger each time.
Next week, we will be moving on to the section for surname folders beginning with M-Z.
If you finish with your own G-L folders go ahead and start on the next section, the process is the same.
As time allows:
(I know not everyone will have large amounts of surnames in each sectional division we are working with)
Start looking at your Category Folders stack.
See if you can begin to start sorting those papers into "imaginary folder divisions" as it pertains to your research and what you have. What that means is that although I may have many papers belonging in a Category Folder for maps; you may not have any. Consequently, you might have a large amount of paper data belonging in a folder for land records; so just sort all that stuff into those kind of areas. After completing our "Surname Folder" section we will be moving on to the Category Folders so this will help you in the long run. This will also give you some good ideas on just what type of Category Folders you will be needing to create.