We used to do everything on paper so you had to be VERY organized. I followed the system recommended by the Family History Library. You can still read the instructions HERE. This is exactly how I had my files set up. This system worked very well if you concentrated on your direct lines. Once you went off on tangents (collateral lines) you had a problem. I ended up going with a 5th color, purple, for any collateral lines I was researching. It worked. I kept my purple files completely separate from my four main lines.
Each folder had a Family Group Sheet, Research Calendar, and a Correspondence Log, all filled out by hand and in pencil. Behind that you would keep all of the documents you found. You would also have your research notes in here (the stuff that didn’t fit on the research calendar) as well as composed biographical information. Your pedigree chart would be in the very front of each surname section, also filled in by hand and in pencil. The original instructions did not include any mention of computers. In this 2001 revision it does say you can print Family Group Sheets and Pedigree Charts using a computer.
I remember when I first got Family Tree Maker in about 1996. At that time it was owned by Brøderbund. It was hard for me to let go of my very organized paper files. It took me several years before I gave them up completely. In 2005 I switched to Legacy Family Tree and as they say, the rest is history.
I have a friend who still does everything on paper. She is the most organized person I know. When I see her penciled-in charts I get a little nostalgic. it does bring back some good memories.
If you look at the FamilySearch Guide – Organizing Your Paper Files Using File Folders again, scroll down to Tip 7 – Locality Files. I LOVED these. My locality files were the last thing to go. I finally got them switched over to the computer about 2 years ago. I now have all of that information in Evernote. It is much easier to keep the information current.
Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis