Effective family history researchers know that organization is the key to productivity. Are you as organized as you’d like to be—or could be? If your new year’s resolution is to cut through your genealogy clutter, check out this trio of PDF book downloads by Denise May Levenick, the Family Curator that provides practical step-by-step solutions for organizing physical and digital materials, once and for all.
How to Organize Inherited Items
Are you the lucky recipient of Mom and Dad’s “stuff”—a lifetime’s worth of family photos, papers, and memorabilia packed into boxes? Learn how to organize inherited items in a way that honors them while bringing peace to the rest of the family. You’ll learn how to:
• Effectively sort and purge boxes that you inherited
• Decide which family heirlooms to keep
• Donate items to museums, societies, and charities
• Protect and pass on keepsakes
People who inherit family archives often take on one of three roles: Curator, Creator or Caretaker (or perhaps a combination). Once you identify why you’ve inherited the family archive, it’s easier for you to determine what to do with it.
Curator: understands the responsibilities involved in caring for a family archive, from organizing to preserving; knows enough to recognize significant objects and suggest and implement ways to care for, display and preserve them
Creator: finds ways to use a family archive materials—whether it be inspiration, raw materials or information sources—in his own creative projects, such as completing a family pedigree, writing a biography, assembling a scrapbook or compiling a family medical history
Caretaker: serves as the temporary family archive “holder” until the next person in line takes it over
How to Organize Family History Paperwork
Family history research can quickly create mountains of paperwork. This download give you step-by-step instruction to effectively organize and digitize your genealogy research papers. You’ll learn how to:
• create a personalized filing system to suit your genealogy research style and experience
• turn your computer into a filing clerk and research assistant by establishing a clear, consistent naming pattern for files and folders
• Scan old paper records and store them electronically to save space and make them easier to find
• make digital copies of original source documents
• organize your family history research for future generations
Think about your genealogy files as two different record types—original documents that you want to physically preserve and store, and working documents used every day that are more temporary in nature. A different digital routine is needed for each record type.
Use a consistent file-naming scheme for your digital documents. Some genealogists find that a combination of Surname, Date and File ID work well for digital files; others use a numerical reference number that corresponds to their paper files.
Organization Strategies for Genealogy Success
Effective family history researchers know that organization is the key to productivity. You’ll learn how to:
• Organize your genealogy research methods
• Organize your family history source citations
• Select the best software for efficient and effective research
• Connect with fellow researchers online to help find answers to your genealogy brick walls
Research success begins even before the first internet query box is completed or the first reel of microfilm is loaded. You have a research goal—to find your ancestor. What you need is a research strategy—a written, step-by-step proposal to achieve your goal. An effective research strategy includes at least 4 major steps:
1. Set a goal.
a. Identify the problem or goal.
b. Break down the goal into smaller, focused mini-goals.
2. Decide what sources to search.
a. List record groups that may provide a solution.
b. List specific sources to search.
c. Locate repositories holding the sources you need.
3. Search the source.
a. Note the results of your search, positive or negative.
b. Copy the raw information.
c. Record the source citation data.
4. Analyze the information.
a. Evaluate the information.
b. Record your findings in your notes and database program.
c. Determine your next step.
5. Repeat from Step 1.