Part of the “process” of getting back to the basics* is to determine what I actually have on my shelves. I watched a Legacy Tree Webinar presented by Shannon Combs-Bennett on January 11, 2017 titled “Tips and Tricks to Organizing Your Genealogy” and this was one of the Tips. So I decided to take it to heart and created a plan, based on her webinar, to begin my “back to the basics” organizational plan.
One of the first tips is to Take an Inventory. So here is what I did. I hope it helps you if you are going to organize you genealogy materials. This first question to consider is to determine “What do you have?” Here is my answer.
- Documents—type and quantity
Over the years, I have moved so many times, where I had to box things up and then find a new place to place it. In doing that, my filing systems have collapsed, changed, and papers are lost in boxes where I still have no idea where they are.Included in that problem is the fact that I inherited a large quantity of boxes of genealogy material from my mother, which many boxes of I have just glanced at what was in it but not dealt with it in a productive way. The current goal is to find all genealogy material that I own (or inherited) and get it into a useful organization, that can be accessed at a moment’s notice.
- Digital items—type
Photos—I have thousands of photos on my hard drive. Quite a few are genealogy related and a lot not. The system I have is totally inadequate, and convoluted. In addition, for whatever reason many are duplicated several times, which is a waste of space. To find a particular photo, it sometimes take me 5 to 10 minutes to find one, and sometimes I give up and have to come back later to try again. My systems must be overhauled totally.
- Heirlooms—don’t forget to record the provenance of those heirlooms.
I do not have a lot, but what I do have, I need to write up a paragraph or two about the provenance, how I came to have it, and what history there is about it, and who should get it when I pass away. This also includes any keepsakes I have accumulated, especially my own keepsakes from my childhood etc.
I have three kinds of genealogy related books:
#1. Reference books, about how to do genealogy;
#2. Collection of books written by others, about my ancestral history, as well as family trees published or unpublished;
#3. Books, pamphlets, DVD’s, etc. that I have written about my family history.
* See my previous post under Swisher Research to see how I began to implement this inventory.