Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Filling my 2013 Goals

On January first I posted my genealogy goals for this year. This is the first of those goals:

1.    Straighten up my genealogical library [once our daughter’s bedroom & now a guest room] so work can be done easily & efficiently without having to sort through piles of papers, journals, maps and photographs that need to be filed, scanned or recycled.

This took longer than I had anticipated. I thought that I had it pretty much under control & I only had to file a few papers and photographs to achieve my first goal. I know it’s good to have a relatively easy first goal to inspire myself to move on to the next on the list.

Well, the pile of papers was taller than I remembered. Shoving them in a drawer was not an acceptable option so I started sorting them into piles. There were family group sheets I had printed from my own records, letters from cousins, photocopies of select pages from state and county history books, a letter from a cemetery, etc. I started by sorting everything into two categories: people & places.

People go in my cabinet.
People go into my file cabinet. Basically each of my grandparents has a drawer in the file cabinet. For example, my paternal grandmother was Ivy (Mark) Brown, born in Ohio. In her drawer I have folders for her parents, her grandparents, great-grandparents & her siblings and their children. There are also folders for cousins I have found, related to these families, with whom I share information. I filed away the letters and family group sheets in the right folders. The folders hold: birth, marriage & death certificates, newspaper clippings, obituaries, letters, report cards, Christmas cards, military service records, etc. My file cabinet is full of people and paper records related to them. Everything has been scanned into my laptop before going into a folder.

Places go on my shelves.
Places go on my bookshelves. Like my file cabinet, each of my grandparents has a shelf. My paternal grandfather, Roy Jesse Brown, was born in Mississippi. Many of his family came from southern states. I have hard cover books like The Fortenberry Families of Southern Mississippi by Criminger and Passports of Southeastern Pioneers 1770 – 1823 by Potter. I have three of Gregory Boyd’s wonderful books of maps of Mississippi counties. I have binders of various counties where my ancestors’ lived. The binders hold photocopied pages from local histories, cemetery or marriage records, information about archives or libraries I have visited in the county, etc.
Organizing my research in this way works for me. I was able to get everything tucked away in a place that I can find if when I need it. When I was teaching I discovered that the best teaching tools in the world were no good if I couldn't find them when needed. The same is true in genealogy. Find a system that works for you.

My library is straightened up & I hope to keep it that way. Goal #1 accomplished!


  1. When can you come to my house?

    1. Ha! No problem Wendy. I enjoy organizing things & my daughter lives in Virginia. Ha!


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