Spring Cleaning, Genealogy Style

By Ashlee Peck Premium
genealogy research organization spring cleaning how-to tips
UNITED KINGDOM – DECEMBER 17: Woman polishing the living room table, 28 May 1963. ‘Lavender fragrance added to popular polish. Johnson’s Pledge, the popular spray-on furniture polish, now offers a choice of the standard product or one with a lavender perfume’. Promotional photograph issued by S C Johnson & Son Ltd (Photo by Daily Herald Archive/SSPL/Getty Images)

Spring is finally here. And at Family Tree Magazine, we’re feeling inspired to tidy up our genealogy research and get organized! It’s the perfect time of year to clean up your workspace, and to make sure your research is being properly cared for. Here’s what we’re focusing on this season:

Digitize your photos and documents

Not only does digitizing your photos and documents help clean up your office clutter, but it helps ensure that they will be available to your family for generations to come. While photographs are the first thing that comes to mind when most of us thinking about uploading to the cloud, you can actually electronically store so much more than that:

  • Records
  • Documents
  • Audio and video files (perfect for family interviews!)
  • Photos of heirlooms and other physical objects

As you are scanning your items and photographs, organize the hard copies before putting them away.

For details on how to start digitizing your family history, check out our How to Edit and Digitize Old Photos and 3 Ways to Digitize Your Family History articles.

Cite your sources

For most researchers, source citations aren’t the most exciting part of genealogy. But citing your sources allows others to recreate your research in the future, and makes it possible to retrace your path in the future.

If you’ve been neglecting adding your sources to your research, this is the perfect time of year to go back and add them.

Our free downloadable Source Citation Cheat Sheet has examples of citations for censuses, vital records and other sources. Also check out Software Source Citations Made Easy and Genealogy Q&A: 3 Steps to Source Citations for more useful tips.

Establish an organization routine

This step will make your next Genealogy Spring Clean a breeze! If you regularly take short chunks of time to file your research, it becomes second nature.

Set up a folder or box on your desk, as well as a folder on your computer hard drive, for items you need to take action on (scan, label, etc.). Next, create a “to file” folder for documents ready to be put away. Once a week or month, schedule time to empty these boxes.

More resources

Timely Genealogy Organization Tips

4 Genealogy Organization Tips To Magically Transform Your Research