Organizing the mess


I ran across a good blog on organizing your mess of genealogical files:

It is about saving and sorting photos but applies to all the stuff in genealogy.  One piece of advice is “if in doubt, throw it out”.  I have trouble with that one as I have photos of people that I have no clue who they are.  I have had the photos for thirty years, and yet I think I am about to identify a bunch of them... if I can just get to them.

I started this renewed effort in early March after a couple of distant cousins in France were bugging me for information on my 5th great grandfather.  I decided they were right, and I had to start getting information out there.  I have had a Macbook for a bit over a year now and I love it.  It is like it is made for genealogy in this modern age.  I use Reunion software.  I have had the software for a while, but in March I really started using it.  The first order of business is cleaning up my cites - or lack there of.

OK, I am not a citation nitpicker.  But I have decided - and the software makes it easy - to cite adequately to trace where I got all my information.  I may not follow some citation format per the book, but I try and the source becomes obvious.

A of tonight I have cited 98 sources, linked to digitized copies of the sources, and facts in my database properly noted.  In my indexed source directory I have left about 180 items indexed but not cited properly or linked to my database.  Some are long and tedious to do I will note.

I also have probably on the order of 200-300 other fragments of sources on my computer in some form, plus boxes of material in hard copy waiting for me to go through.  This does not count all the photographs and letters I have.  Needless to say it will take some time to get organized.

Yet as I speak, more and more source material is showing up on the Internet and a lot of it is original images.  When I take a break I meander the Internet and find out my great grandfather ran for the California state assembly from Los Angeles in 1900 as a Democrat and lost with 40% of the vote... I didn’t know that before.  Another item to categorize and cite....

The point is I will never catch up.  But I am endeavoring to at least leave a marked path and a foundation of organized history.  So for now, I do a couple of cites a day, allow myself to wander the Internet a little bit, and organize a little bit at a time.  I will soon get to the point where I have to digitize more records and that will slow down the work.

Oh, and so far I am not throwing out a thing in spite of what the other blogs say.... not yet.

© Ken Piper 2016