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Three Tips to help you Organize your Family Tree Research

file folders Genealogy is a hobby that tends to generate a lot of “paperwork”. It could take the form of stacks of papers sitting on a desk, or batches of files in your computer. You will need to find ways to keep it all organized so you can access what you need when you need it. Try these three ideas to organize your genealogy research.

Follow a Research Cycle has a really helpful idea. Follow a Research Cycle. It consists of a series of steps that you should follow in a specific order. The entire thing flows in a circle and keeps going. You start by setting a specific goal. The last portion of the cycle involves organizing and reorganizing your papers. You can download and print out detailed instructions about the research cycle from their website.

One Family – One File Folder

This simple idea comes from It helps you to keep specific information about one family group in one, easy to locate, place. They define “one family” as “a father, a mother, and their children”. If that doesn’t fit your family, you can alter it to include two parents and their children, or one parent and his or her child.

One file folder” is defined as a manila envelope that you can put important information into. This should include a family group record, photocopies of source documents, and a research log. You can download both of those forms from the FamilySearch website. The file folder can also include a pedigree chart and maps of family settlements. Everything stays in one place. Start a brand new folder for each family group.

Keep Things Simple

The Family Curator has a wealth of excellent information for genealogists. Among those ideas are “Ten Tips for Organizing Genealogy Research”. The one that stood out the most for me involved a supply closet.

Your supply closet should include all the little things you need to keep your research organized. It should contain folders (or manila envelopes if you are following the “One Family – One Folder” method). Other suggested supplies include plastic sleeves, tabs, and printer paper.

You may also want to add computer paper, 3 ring binders, and extra USB drives (for storage). The storage closet should contain all those “little things” that can stop your organization in its tracks if you have accidental run out of them.

More organization tips on our Pinterest Board!

Image by Marc Falardeau on Flickr.

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