Reply To: Organising Your Family History

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That’s a really interesting look at how you organise your files.

I’d love to see other people’s systems too.

Personally, I don’t print out as much as I used to. I have 3 main level arch files – one for maternal/paternal and one for notes given out at talks I’ve attended. I also try to keep my handwritten notes for these talks in one journal so that I can refer back to them, especially if the talk was not online or accessible again. The ancestral folders are broken down with dividers and it’s in here that I now keep a lot of my very early handwritten research. A lot of it is now duplicated on my computer though.

On computer, I have folders for each of my main surnames (broken down by gg grandparents largely). Within them, I have folders for collateral families like the siblings of my direct ancestor, especially where the surname has changed because it’s a female line. If there’s an army record for someone, then I collect any documents in one folder labelled *Person’s name British/Irish army record* – this is particularly necessary as different records now crop up on different sites. Just recently I found new medical records for my great-grandfather on FMP during WW1.

I use a file system naming pattern like this:

Person’s name / type of record / year

Mary Lynch birth 1875

For the censuses, I record them as the family surname plus year

Fottrell 1911

In my family tree software, I also use hyperlinks to the transcript for the census returns. I tried doing this with links but they have changed format over the years and don’t always work if it’s an old link.

These computer files are backed up to an external harddrive and I always have a current copy of my main family tree gedcom in Dropbox and stored on another family member’s computer, just in case!


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