01 March 2011

Genealogy Organization–February 2011 Recap–Yikes!

Our DearMyrtle had big eyes when creating her February 2011 Organization Checklist! Her suggestions for genealogy organization were numerous and multilayered! If you are just beginning to get your genealogy 'stuff' organized, you may have found it overwhelming. My suggestion is to listen to Ol’ Myrt’s words of wisdom at the end of her February suggestions; “You are setting the groundwork for developing good habits.” Look at the ideas this month as ‘start’ ideas. These are things you are starting to do. Perhaps set aside 15 minutes each day to work on one or two of them. Those little blocks of time spent just organizing will add up.

Here is how I handled (or didn’t) this month’s suggestions:

When I began researching in earnest at the end of 2005, I began where many do in this modern age, on the computer with many different websites. I quickly became a regular user of Ancestry.com and it made the most sense to me to use Family Tree Maker. 

While setting up my Lenovo netbook, I decided to try out Roots Magic. Currently I am dabbling with it and trying to decide whether or not I will use it as my primary genealogy software program. 

Having never indexed before, I decided to volunteer over at JewishGen.org. Currently I am working on transliterating names from Hebrew and Yiddish to English. I have found that I absolutely love it and find it extremely relaxing, although it is going more slowly than I had anticipated because for some entries I double and triple check myself with different sources.

This is an area where I have to diverge from the suggestions. Because I started during the digital era, a large percentage of my work has been done online. There are documents to be digitized and notes to be added, but the bulk of my work with the binders involves printing out what I already have in my software program to make it accessible for my family.

Include source citations for all items. Luckily I have been doing a pretty good job with this. If you haven’t, be sure to read this section.

As you know I am into photos and have been organizing and identifying my photos since I started taking them at a very young age. I scanned a bunch of these yesterday at ScanFest.
That doesn’t mean I don’t get behind. Currently I am working on picking the best of digital photos from 2010, printing them and getting them into albums. I try not to print more pictures than will fit in two albums for each year. I took over 5,000 pictures, but will only print 300. If there is a special event or trip, those photos will be printed for a separate album or scrapbook. 

Here is what the My Pictures library looks like on my computer:

My Pictures

The majority of the photos on my computer are labeledYear-Month-Day File Name and filed in the appropriate year folder. When I have a collection, such as Bubba’s slides, they will go in a separate so named folder to start and then be moved into the individual years, such as 1978 Grampa’s Pictures

You can see that I have several folders with the labels; All About Us, People We Love, Places We Love and Things We Love. These are based on a class called Library of Memories I took online with Stacy Julian at Big Picture Classes. While the class had the goal of scrapbooking, a large part of it centered on organizing your photos. I learned to pull out special photos for each year and put them into these categories. The folder labeled 2People We Love – Family and Heritage contains surname folders and is duplicated in My DropBox so that I can access it from any computer or from my phone.

All of the blog reading I do is through Google Reader, both on my computer and through an app on my Droid phone. If you have never used Google Reader, Ol’ Myrt gives easy to follow, step by step instructions for starting with this service and adding blogs to it.

While I didn’t join any mailing lists for my surnames or localities, I did hop back over to JewishGen.org and sign up for several lists including:
2011 DC Conference
DNA Testing
JewishGen Discussion Group
Latvia SIG
Professional Genealogists
Sephardic SIG

If interested, you can go here to subscribe to any of their twenty-five plus mailing lists.

If you have not already done so, go and read DearMYRTLE’S February 2011 Organization Checklist. I know it’s March, but you are not behind. This is about making changes in the way you organize your genealogy work, materials and supporting items. Don’t throw away all of your precious research time to do everything at once. Do a little bit each day and next year in February 2012, you will be far better organized than you are now. 

Thanks to DearMYRTLE for providing us with this great series of getting organized! 

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

1 comment:

  1. So what did you decide about RootsMagic vs Family Tree Maker? I would love to know your thoughts...


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