Friday, April 19, 2019

Keep Your Research in Place

This week’s prompt is difficult. I tried to think of a family member who turned up in an unlikely location but if I have folks in unlikely locations, they are still there, waiting to be discovered. 

I do, however, know something about records that are OUT OF PLACE. I am continually organizing and reorganizing my records and yet, there are times when I cannot find a particular book or map or document. I look everywhere and usually find it OUT OF PLACE, where it does not belong.

The more I research the more my records have expanded. Everything once fit in one large binder. Now I have a filing cabinet, a desk, two bookcases and a laptop full of data (not counting photos). My filing cabinet has four drawers & each drawer contains materials related to a surname of one of my four grandparents. Those materials include greeting cards, hand drawn family trees, documents, funeral cards, etc. On each side of my desk are bookcases. One bookcase is devoted to my mother’s family & the other to my father’s family. Their families came from different areas. My mother’s bookcase has many books mostly about Ireland and early New York City. My father’s bookcase has books from several states including: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana & Mississippi. I often wish those bookcases could hold more books and journals. 

Doesn’t that sound nicely organized? Did I mention I usually have a pile of papers and books that need to be sorted out? Did I mention the assorted boxes of mementos in the closet that need to be labeled? Maybe, just maybe, there are a couple things that are OUT OF PLACE. 

If I were to give tips to a new genealogist I would say select an organizational system & stick with it. Your research is not valuable if you cannot find it. And every piece of paper needs a full source citation for the facts to have any value. You worked hard to find your facts. Now don’t let them get OUT OF PLACE. 

Amy Johnson Crow challenges us to remember our ancestors and their families through this task: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. I completed ’52 Ancestors’ in 2014 & here I go again. This post is in response to that challenge. The topic for this week is OUT OF PLACE.


  1. Colleen, your binders are an inspiration. I love my label maker but your large, colorful, descriptive spine labels are making me think I should follow your lead!

  2. This is something that every genealogist and/or Family Historian is plagued with to some degree.

  3. I like your original “take” on the Out of Place prompt, and in particularly the strength of your final paragraph. I too am impressed with your labeling - something I would like to copy.


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