29 November 2011

I Heart Organization! Part II

A couple of weeks ago I started re-organizing my genealogy files using Mary Hill's Family Roots Organizer System.  (You can read Part I here.)  I finished the project just before Thanksgiving, which was a good thing as I needed one of the tables for Thanksgiving dinner!

I really enjoy my new file organization.  I had filed everything by surname and now I have them filed by surnames, then families.  It makes it so much easier to find everything. 

My pedigree charts are filed at the beginning of the drawer followed by my color-coded great, great grandparents' surnames.  Normally, one would have 16, but I haven't found one of their surnames so I have 15.  I have placed a 5-generation pedigree chart inside of each surname file. 

Next, I typed labels for each family on my 5-generation pedigree chart, using color coordinated file folder labels.  I used the full sheet ones as I found those easier to run through the printer.  The Family Roots Organizer System uses manila file folders for this step.  I used colored file folders because I already had them.  The family file folders are then filed alphabetically per surname.  Each family file folder holds:  family group record, documents, notes, and anything pertaining to that family.

I continued adding files for families.  I added new surname hanging folders as I came across them.  The picture above shows my direct line families on the right.  The files in the middle are the collateral lines I have researched.  I continued this way until I re-filed my information.  I left a few items in their original surname files as I haven't collected much information on them.  I will eventually file those into this system.  Plus, my research lately has been saved in digital format whenever possible.

Once my surname and family information was filed I moved on to locality and help files.  These files are orange in color, which was my choice.  Again, because I already had the supplies.  Locality files hold the information for places I am researching.  Help files hold information I use in my research.  Examples of these files are:  writing tips, conferences, military research, quick sheets, handwriting helps, repository information and society information.  

But the best part of a new file system is this:

an empty in-box!!!


  1. Wow! I'm impressed. I need to read up on this. I kind of do a color coding thing, but not this well. I am determined to get organized this winter. Thanks for posting.

    (BTW, if you'd like to do some consulting stop by my house sometime. I could use the help. ;)

  2. Thanks, Cynthia. Good luck with your organizing. It takes a little bit of time, but it is worth it.

  3. Beautiful system. I like how you set up the locality folders.

  4. Thanks, Michelle. The locality files have been better organized since I did this.

  5. I'll bet they are. I've been feeling the need need to concentrate on improving my intelligence gathering in the various localities where I research. I think your approach to the locality file would really help!