Organizing Family Discoveries

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 26th, 2010

It's great when the family gets together, but you know that it'll be much greater if all family members can get to know each other and share the family history. Much interest had been given to genealogic researches in the past years, but still, the most common form of genealogic research remains to be the family tree and its branching out. A family tree is a cinch to make if you intend to include only members of your immediate family (parents, sibling, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins) but what if you aim to include the three generations before you? Or what if you intend to find out who your ancestors are? This entails a much larger scope and therefore a more thorough research. This also means more extensive notes, files, pictures, interview transcripts, and other documents. To save you from disorganization and make your research easier, Carolyn Billingsley and Desmond Allen have devised an efficient filing system specifically for genealogic research.

The materials they prescribed are easy enough to procure such as a filing cabinet (boxes will do), data records, pens with black ink, file folders, notebook (loose leaf), and notebook dividers. They recommend that you start by making nuclear family records. Printed forms are available to make it easier. Record information by family. Separate your own family record from that of your parents. Use marriages as guide, as each marriage requires a separate data sheet. Fill out forms backward, starting from the present and to the past. Make all information on each family uniform, leave spaces for unknown data and fill them out later when you got the missing links. It is also important to indicate sources of the information. Include birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage certificates with the members' personal information but remember to use only photocopied records. Label sheets with family surnames and put them in file folders duly labeled. Collect and store these nuclear family sheets to larger family groups. To do these use bigger filing folders. Label these folders by the family patriarch's name, for example, your grandfather's name. Include in this folder all files of your uncles, aunts, parent, married siblings, married cousins, etc. An optional step is to add a contents page to give you a clue about what is inside the folders. These will make it easier for you to fill out your family tree and its branches. An organized research will save you the trouble of diving into heaps of paper searching for documents that you think are there but have no idea where to find.

Nick Niesen

About the Author

Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
Articles Posted: 33,847

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