Organization of Your Family History Archives



Generally, it is one or two people in a family generation who are the keeper of family heirlooms, photos, documents, etc and who also be the one to do the family history research. IF this is you, here are a few suggestions for attempting to put some organization to the family collection.

You basically need things divided into categories. There is a family tree (pedigree charts), genealogical research material, vital records, photos, memorabilia, keepsakes, and family medical data. If you do not have some of these categories, it is OK, but do divide up what you do have into categories.

Sort out what you do have and see if you can acquire additional items such as photos from other family members. As you sort,m do figure how much storage space you have and acquire storage filing cabinets or plastic boxes (not cardboard ones). Sometimes it is hard to decide if some items you should keep, especially documents. If in doubt, then for sure scan the paper and keep backed up on your computer and extra drives. It is amazing how years later you might come across a name or location that does tie into the document you were thinking of tossing out.  

Especially with paper items, they need to be in file folders, and each one labeled. Do not label one ‘Mom’ and the other ‘Dad’ – please write the individual’s name or at least a family surname. Think of anyone years from now who is trying to figure out who ‘Mom’ is.

Need some additional resources on how to organize the family history – well on Cyndi’s List she has put together several organizing sources – each with tips on organizing documents, genealogical research, photos, videos, and memorable.  

The summer is a good time to put a few hours in each week to be organized. Get some of those projects done, such as scanning family photos. Now is the best time to start.

Photos: Organizing family heirlooms, organizing using notebooks and organizing using folders.

Related FamilyTree Blogs:

Tips for Organization

Using a Timeline to be Organized

Organize Photos with Flickr

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