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A Guide to Organizing Paper Genealogy Files
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© 1997
My reasons for creating this Guide
     Even though the computer is the best place and the most useful tool in organizing the data and files we accumulate in doing genealogy research, the need or desire for paper files arises. The reasons may be for on-site research away from a computer, or most importantly is what I call Show & Tell. The work involved in amassing this type of information needs to be rewarded, if only by boosting our own ego. To Show & Tell at family gatherings, family reunions, genealogical society meetings, and many other occasions can be a big boost to an ego. In an effort to do on-site research, a quick reference can also be a big help. Exchanging information with another individual researching the same lines (without a computer), is another way paper files can be of importance.
     I do not intend to discredit anyone else's method; my only intent is to provide another method. I had many frustrating tries at organizing the data we were accumulating and most of them became too cumbersome or seemed to be duplicating too much of the same data.
     There are many software programs that are good. The one you are using can be used in creating most of the paper files that you need, so this article is primarily concerned with organizing that vast amount of paper.
     Any names used in this guide are for illustration purposes only, and are not of any real person, living or dead, or of any fictional characters either.
     This system should be adaptable to using either 3-ring binders with tabbed dividers or file folders. Whichever works for the individual user will be appropriate.
     The heart of this method uses a typical family tree numbering system, with a few minor variations and additions; and can be changed to sort/organize whatever data is available at any given time.
     For some people going back in time, to another day and another way of life, is no more than a waste of time. But to a growing number of people it is something which gets into your system and it just won't let go. Well, I am one in the latter group.
     Has there not been sometime in your life that you have not thought - Now why did I do that, or why is my hair blonde, or perhaps even what is it about sauerkraut that I just can not get enough of it.
     Now, while there is no guarantee that you will find the answers to all of the questions that you may have there is always the slight possibility that you can find some answers or at least indications as to why something is the way it is, or why you enjoy the things you do, maybe even why you have the features that you have.
     I do not think that there is any way that a person can describe the feelings that they have when they find that one person or that one thing that they have searched for and finally have it. Personally, I experienced this recently with my wife. The knowledge we had of her Grandfather was very limited as he had been sent from New York on an Orphan Train. She had felt the possibilities of ever finding any information on him as a child, and/or of his parents was totally impossible. Through our research we continued to seek information through any and all channels possible. One day we did receive information that we had a definite name and location of him and his parents, and when I showed her this information she cried - for joy she cried, because what she thought would never happen - had.
     To those who view this type of research as a waste of time, so be it.
     But to those who feel that this is something which they enjoy doing or even those who have not yet begun I say : GO FOR IT! There is nothing as satisfying or rewarding as to be able to say


There is nothing to compare to the feeling of comfort in knowing names, places, occupations, and everything else you will be fortunate to find while 'Digging Up Your Roots'.
     So to you very fortunate people, I wish the best of luck in your travels on the road to FINDING FAMILY FACTS and hope that this information contained within the following pages will help with your travels.

© 1997 - 2015     Wayne Hinton
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