history-genealogy site

This is a site where I will discuss my family genealogy research and related history. When a blog deals with a particular family group, I will try to include it in the title so uninterested people can skip it without skimming it. It is my hope to get feedback on research methods, family members and historical context from other historians, genealogists, and researchers. (c) Barbara L. de Mare 2006, 2007

Location: Englewood, New Jersey, United States

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Organizational Crisis

HELP!! Today my organizational crisis has come to a head, and I am most frustrated. I have my individual people files and family files petty well organized, and have a system which works--except for the stuff I copy in probate and county clerks offices and libraries. The biggest problem is the old deeds, wills, etc. They tend to be in large books, so the copies are huge. They don't fit in my files and notebooks, and I like them in a separate place to transcribe--like the ones i sent you to proofread for me, Sandi. At least I had managed to reduce the size of those somewhat. I have piles of these documents all over the place. They are mostly in separate folders or notebooks (just as a holder--they don't fit to secure in). But I haven't figured out how to store these so I can find them. I have long since run out of bookcase space, and they are really too big to store on bookcases. It is a disaster when a pile falls on the floor! Even the documents from libraries are a problem. Although the ones copied from microfilm are generally a more standard size, I have zillions of them. I brought back large stacks from Boston on my last trip there. They are in a pile on the floor by my bed; hardly a long range solution. For the most part it doesn't work to put these documents in family notebooks or individual files, as I like to keep all the stuff from a single location together, at least my original copies. I'm not sure exactly why, other than that they must be together if I am trying to figure out how properties adjoined and the locations of families in relation to each other. Mostly, it just seems propeer to me that they be together. So now I am trying to complete my documentary history of the Carpenter family, and thus need to find what documents I have which I haven't included. but where are they??? I spent hours finding some deeds and wills I knew I had earlier in the week, and knew I had put back where I found them--where ever that was!! Now they are ON my bed waiting for copies and transcriptions. I guess I will leave them there at least until I go to work tomorrow where i can copy them. If too many kids don't sleep with me, I stand a chance of managing not to kick them on the floor. Then where to put them? Any good ideas would be appreciated. I am plumb out of ideas. I think what I really need is something like map drawers to keep them in, but have never such a thing in office supply stores. I am having a similar problem with documents i have copied from the internet and CDS. They usually involve an area, not a person. I do have area files, so guess the area ones could go in those, but family groups are another problem. For example, a couple of weeks ago I copied all the Hinsham Quaker records that mention family records in Philadelphia and West Jersey. I made two copies of each, so one set I marked up as I entered them on my computer, then put them in the individual files. The second set is the problem. That set was printed to use in my documentary history and any place else I don't want marked up copies. So where do I file those? I also spent a lot of time looking for them today, then found them on my desk chair--"where I couldn't possibly lose them." Again, this is not a long term solution. HELP! HELP! All ideas gratefully accepted!


Blogger VanLori1952 said...

Have you tried looking at drafting filing systems. I have located a site that might work for you at:
After creating a filing system for those documents, you could use index cards to attach to your family or site folders that will tell you were certain files are located. This would avoid having to make copies to add to those folders. When working on a family, simply pull the files you need (according to the index card attached) then, you can put the files back after you are done. Draws could be labeled, Documents, Deeds, Maps, Court Papers, etc and a flat piece of heavy paper could be tabbed with letters, so that the documents can be flatly filed in alphabetical order. Just an idea.
Lorraine Iervolino (nee Van Houten)

2:19 AM  
Blogger his gene, esq. said...

Thank you Lorraine--a great site, and has just what I ultimately decided would work best. Now if we could move the decimal point in the prices . . .

4:13 PM  
Anonymous jboras said...

I recently purchasesd a Sony Walkman mp3 player (for my husband's audio collection) and was surprised to see that the device can also hold documents, photos and videos. The player works in concert with one's PC/laptop in that files and folders are created on the PC and download within seconds onto the player. What you end up with is your own folder system (that can contain photo files) in a hand held device weighing ounces. This would negate the need to pull, carry around hardcopy files, and then refile when done when a particular expedition to a cemetery is completed. The player has a digital display that allows for viewing what photos you already have in the collection. Your entire reference system is maintained on your PC and can be modified quickly and re-downloaded into the mp3 player when ready to embark again to a cemetery. Since you already have much of your photos online and/or on CDs, it should be fairly simple to insert them into folders labeled by cemetery. The device we have is Sony Digital Media Player NWZ-A726. It holds 4 GB (or 1000 songs or probably several thousand photos) and is easy to use (since my hubby is digitally challenged).
Jo Maliawski-Boras
Southampton NJ
Member NGS (but new to professional genealogy)

4:28 PM  
Blogger Toby said...

Have you considered the database program Clooz? I find it helpful for organizing documents which have a variety of information on them, so that I may want to search for them again by one of several names, or by location or by repository etc. You input the data once and then only have to keep pone file copy of the document. Just a suggestion.

9:52 AM  

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