2 Blogs in One
Simple Steps: How to organize your family information on your computer
Hand Me Downs: Those things that were handed down from your ancestors to you and now you are handing them down to your descendants
I am going to start with an example:
Second Folder_Lastname (you could put 4 if you are researching 4 names, such as both of your grandparents)
Third Folder_(Where the information was found, but don’t get too many)
Contact person that helps a lot
genealogy website you use often
Naming the file_Datefirst, then the title of the information:
keep it simple
2014January31_LastnameFirstname(for a photo)
(Another suggestion for photos is to also put it in MSWord, put the information about the photo below the photo -who or what the photo is about, when it was taken, where it was taken, the circumstances that were going on while the photo was being taken. If it is a studio photo, maybe it was a day the whole family got together just to get photos taken)
That really should be all you need. Perhaps you can come up with
Hand Me Downs
I was at my daughters family home and noticed how wonderful it was to see items that belonged to my grandparents and my parents and me that I had handed down to her. It was a really an amazing feeling I had, totally unexpected.
One thing that is understandable, but is a little frustrating, is all that family information from the ‘family steamer trunk’, that got divided amongst the children and now is handed down and separated to their children and so on. I have seen how things were lost or tossed or misplaced, many that are never to be seen again, after they were divided up.
If the time has not happened for you to be dividing such items up that is good. Perhaps you can designate one family member that will keep all the info together (everyone can gets copies of it). There is usually a reason why certain envelopes and photos and documents are kept together in one rubber band and another is kept in a small box and another in an unmarked envelope. This is important to find out why they are together, perhaps it has to do with a certain place, or event, or family.
If your elders are still around, that is wonderful! Perhaps you could take a couple of days and ask them if it would be okay to go over some of the photos and letters and documents together. So that there won’t be any confusion about them later. (This may take a few days or a couple of months or so).
Big manila envelopes work well for many items. The information on the outside of the envelopes should include the year(s) the info is about, what family it is for, and if it is all from the same place, where it is from. Go through a few items at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed keep it simple and enjoyable as possible.
Write on the back of photos, on the sides of the frames if they are paper, who is in the photo and what family they belong to. Writing Jane Doe’s family may not be enough, especially if there are 5 generations of Jane Doe Families! Also the year the photo was taken will help a lot in keeping which generation it belongs too.
This same process will work for letters. If they don’t have envelopes, put them in one that is big enough to not bend or tear the paper. Then write on the envelope what year, who wrote it and to whom it was written and a brief 2 or 3 word description of what it is about, Civil war, lawyer, estate, family, you get the idea.
What about material items? If you can write the same type of information on a paper and put it in an envelope and put it in the item, that is good. If it is too small, and you want to display the item, perhaps those heavy paper tags with strings on them will work. Write the information on the tag, then attach the string part to the item. Perhaps you will have to put a piece of tape on the item with the information on the tape. How about taking a photo of the item, putting the photo on a blank piece of paper and writing the information next to it. You could use a spiral notebook for this, or a binder, or a folder. You may have to get creative here.
We have covered much information today. Remember to Breath, relax and enjoy your family – present and past.