366 Days of Genealogy – January
Once a day on the Blair Archival Research Facebook page a new post is shared. There is a theme for each month and January’s was organization. You will get bonus posts relating to the theme but only on the Blair Archival Research Facebook page these will not be posted on the monthly blog review.
To get a new tip each day all you have to do is “Like” the Blair Archival Research page.
Start the year by updating your database. Add information that might be missing from the database but that is in your files.
Are you finding that your organizational method is not working for you? Check out the Family Roots Organizer to see if they can help.
Go through your family history files and see what is in there. When was the last time you did this? You never know what you may find. There might be a bit of information in there that is the key to something you have been researching.
Only have five minutes to spare today then check out FamilySearch. They have a webinar called “5 Minute Genealogy Episode 14: Organize Your Records.”
Do you have a pile of paper that needs to go into your family files or be scanned into your computer? Spend the day sorting it into piles that relate to your filing system of choice. This might be surnames, place names, or family groups.
Today let’s file those papers that you started to organize yesterday.
How is your filing system set up on your computer? Are you finding the files easily? Are there files you are not using or maybe some that are so full you can’t find anything? Take one of those files and organize them today.
Have you got loose photographs floating around in the albums? Then organize them in the album and don’t forget to label them.
Do you have a box of pictures that are of unknown souls? Pick one picture and spend the day trying to find out who it is.
If you weren’t able to find out much about your unknown family photograph see if Dead Fred can help.
Still having difficulty with that photograph then see what Cyndi’s List has to offer under Photographs & Memories.
Have you got those digital files backed up? Is a duplicate copy held off site? Spend today backing up your digital files and sending a copy to a family member for safe keeping.
Did you know that in a fire a wooden file cabinet has a better chance of preserving your family history than a metal one? The metal file cabinet absorbs the heat and while it may still be standing the paper inside is ash. A wooden one takes longer to burn so there is a better chance of the files surviving.
Are you using archival materials to preserve your family treasures? Spend today looking for a local supplier of archival material to preserve your items. Shop around for a price that suits your budget.
While protecting your family treasures why not write a note to go with them so that your family knows where the item came from and the family to which it is connected.
Take a digital photograph of the family heirloom. Create a book of family treasures which includes the photograph and the history of the item. This could be a lovely gift to give family members.
We talked about organizing your family history database on January 1st now lets create your research plan for the coming year. Go through your database and see where the blanks are found. Write a list of the records you need to find and a list of where you might find them. Your family history program may have a section that will help you collect all this information in one place.
While you are going through your database to create your research plan make a note of the places where your source citations need improving.
Take the time today to improve the source citations in your database.
Do you have a long list of genealogy bookmarks? See if the categories need to be expanded upon or maybe you can consolidate them. The Tech Tips FamilySearch blog has a post about Diigo. Would this work for you?
While you are organizing your bookmarks don’t forget to click on each link to make sure it is still valid.
Sometimes when you save a link to your bookmarks the title is not very descriptive. Edit the titles on your bookmarks so that it makes it easier to find websites.
Do you have a library of books that relate to your family history research? Go through your library and check to see if the books are still in good condition. Is there a note or page corner turned down with something you were once going back to check? Make a note and add it to your research plan.
Have you got duplicate books? Donate them to a local library, genealogy society or historical society.
Are there books or other related items that are on your wish list? Create the list and take it with you to conferences.
Have you ever used Library Thing? Why not add your library to this online catalogue. If you are away and find a book but are not sure if you already have it you can check the catalogue at the nearest online computer. You can add 200 books for free or as many as you like for a year ($10) or life ($25).
Have you searched Google Books or Internet Archive to see if any of the books you are looking for are available for free digitally? You can create a catalogue in your bookmarks for books you have found online. You can also keep a written catalogue in a word processing program.
How many CDs and DVDs do you have in your library? How are they stored? You can store them in a container specifically for CDs. Do you know what is on them? If not then go in and see what they contain and create an index for the CDs in your library. If the CD is not of use then donate it. If it doesn’t work on your system anymore then destroy it.
Create a catalogue for your CDs and DVDs in a word processing program. You can add it to the same catalogue you created for your books or keep the two separate.
Do you know what is on all your thumb drives? Label each drive with a letter or number and then create an index in a word processing program. If there is nothing on the drive that is useful then clean the drive off and have it ready for your next research adventure.
Looking for more tips on organizing your family history? Check out Cyndi’s List Organizing Your Research.