Thursday, July 11, 2013

Paper files

Public Service Announcement:  I have changed the font of the blog to 12 point Arial after reading discussions on the Transitional Genealogists Forum and on Facebook about the readability of certain fonts and font sizes.  Let me know how you like it.  I am hoping it will be easier on your eyes.  I might be changing the blog up a bit in the near future to make it look a little nicer all the way around.


A lady on the Organized Genealogist Facebook Group Page wanted some advice on  paper filing systems and organizing her research.  She does not use a genealogy database program and doesn’t keep anything on the computer.  I really hadn’t thought about it but I guess there are still people out there that have a computer and internet access but prefer to keep their research on paper only.   Although I think a database system is the way to go I will tell you about the paper filing system I used before I transferred everything over to the computer.

I set up my filing system like the Family History Library recommended.  You can see it here: Organizing Your Paper Files Using File Folders. I did it exactly like this except I used a filing cabinet instead of of boxes.  I did both the surname files and the locality files.  This system worked very well for me for many years.  Having said that, using a genealogy database program on the computer is much more efficient.  I spend a fraction of the time keeping everything in order than I did doing everything on paper. 

When you are working on paper only, all of your family group sheets (FGSs) and pedigree charts are in pencil because you are constantly changing and updating the information.  You do a lot of recopying as your pages start looking ragged.  You also have to hand write all of your source citations which is no fun at all. Each folder has its own research and correspondence logs which of course means more writing. This system works best if you are only researching your direct lines.  Once you get going on the collateral lines things get a bit complicated.  A computer handles collateral lines so much better.  

This is one of those “to each his own” situations.  If you prefer to keep everything on paper then this is the method I recommend.

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis

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