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The perfect genealogy filing system

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You would much rather spend your precious time searching for ancestors, rather than mislaid documents, right? In Family Tree November Denise May Levenick shares her tips for keeping your family history records shipshape, and here she reveals (there's no such thing as) the perfect genealogy filing system.

Genealogists have a love/hate relationship with paper. We love old paper and the fact that it survives when many other artifacts do not; but we can be frustrated by the paper mountains created by our family history research. Digitised versions of paper records and research add yet more files as well as the need to acquire the skills to work with those files.

The key to any successful organising system is customising it to suit your own needs, and then refining your system until it becomes routine. As you develop your own filing programme, remember these tips:

  • There's no such thing as the 'perfect' organising scheme. Look for ideas that fit the way you work and customise as needed the best system is the one that you can work with!
  • Keep it simple. Start with a scheme you can implement now; learn new skills as your needs expand.
  • Institute a personal Trial Period. Decide to try a new system with a limited number of documents for a specific number of hours, days, or weeks before committing fully.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Repeating tasks builds expertise and reveals shortcomings.

Read 'Get your records straight' by Denise May Levenick in Family Tree November for a step-by-step guide to organising your family history documents. Buy now or subscribe and save!

Denise May Levenick is a family historian, writer, speaker and presenter for webinars and workshops, with a passion for preserving and sharing family treasures of all kinds. She is creator of award-winning family history blog The Family Curator and author of How to Archive Family Photos (2015) and How to Archive Family Keepsakes (Family Tree Books, 2012), both available from Amazon. She is a former high school English and journalism teacher, and holds a Master’s degree in English literature.

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