What is it? It’s that outrageously disorganized pile, box, or cabinet full of genealogy stuff that hasn’t been properly filed or sorted … or scanned. Mine is a dreaded paper pile inside a cabinet that is chock full of pictures, documents, and scattered notes.
How to tame the paper monster:
- Start by sorting through and categorizing items – make sure that items that are related to each other (for example, an old photo with a note about it on a scrap of paper) stay together. Sort:
- documents like marriage, birth, death certificates and announcements are separated and grouped by surname
- photographs with as much documentation of possible, lest we forget who the person in the old photo is
- research notes separated into surname groups
- Find a filing system that works well for you – all that doesn’t do much good unless you have a place to put the stuff
- some genealogist report using notebooks with acid free page protectors – a separate one for each surname – I found this to be a good route until I worked my way further and further back and ended up with way too many notebooks
- some genealogists use file drawers and have a separate file for each family name – this was a far more workable solution for me
- good idea here – create a master set of sheets so that you know exactly what surname file you need to access for a particular piece of information
Now, I’m not f pro, just an amateur working my way through the paper monster. Please feel free to use the comment section to share any tips that other amateurs might find helpful.