I’m one of those people who just has to change my organization method every few years. If something’s not perfect, I decide to try something new.
When I took over family history research from Grammy, most of her information was organized into binders by surname. Does that sound like the 1990s to anyone?
In each binder was a combination of primary and secondary source material as well as research notes. That just wasn’t working for me. I decided that I wanted easy access to the primary and secondary source materials across all surnames. After all, that’s the starting point for my research.
I created a single new binder (only one for now) and added dividers for each surname. My intent is to slowly “move in” to my new binder.
What better place to start than with current records?
It dawned on me that someday my descendants will want copies of my original documents that are currently safely stored in my safety deposit box.
First up, my marriage certificate. I made a copy for my new binder, scanned an image, and added it as a source for my marriage in my family tree software. Sure, I knew most of that information, but it reminded me just how much information was there that could easily get lost. For instance, at the time we married, I was living in Denton County, the license was issued in Collin County, and we were actually married in Dallas County, Texas. How confusing that could be in 100 years!
Now is also a good time to scan your birth certificate, your children’s birth certificates, and your children’s religious certificates such as baptism and confirmation. Include those bits of information in your genealogy database now.