Monday, December 22, 2008

De-Cluttering Your Genealogy Challenge Part 4

Hello challengers!  I hope you all have been working hard at de-cluttering your genealogy (or atleast attempting to de-clutter your genealogy - during this time of year everyone gets an A+ for effort!)

So, for part 4 of our challenge I have a task that can seem very daunting...making sure that all of your documents in your paper files match everything in your computer program.  How daunting this task seems will vary, based on how big your family tree is.

I have a very easy way to go through and make sure everything matches or doesn't match.  This will take a little bit of time, but I've cut that time down a bit with this system that I have come up with:

First, grab a notebook (or a bunch of pieces of lined paper), and a pen.  Next, take one surname folder out of your paper files.  Open up your computer genealogy program and go to the first person/couple/family (depends on what file system you use) that is in your surname file.  Finally, go through each piece of paper and compare it to what is in your computer program.  Anything that is in the file system but not in the computer program, or vice versa, write it down.  Make sure that you include the name of the person and the document that needs to be entered.

And once you've done one folder, move on to the next one.  The wonderful thing about doing this is that you can do it at all hours of the day or night (which is what I am currently doing).  Trust me - when you are done with this, you'll feel AMAZING.  Everything will match up.  No more thinking that you've entered that record, knowing in the back of your mind that you've seen that somewhere.  You'll now have it all at your fingertips, ready for research!


Cindy said...

Elyse -
I'm feeling like the genealogy pack rat! Uggh I know I should do all this but my goodness what an undertaking it is! Most of this I do already - just keeping up with it? When you're on a research roll?... baby steps, baby steps! One thing I'm glad for - if you're posting all these tips, I'm not the only one in this boat! We all know we should do it - but oh the pain!!!!
Hope you have a Happy New Year!

Elyse said...

Cindy, I know it is such a pain to do. We all want to do the fun part of just researching - but we have to make sure that our research is organized and sourced so that it has meaning to someone else if you weren't there to explain it to someone.
What I would recommend, is matching up your computer files to your paper files about once a month (more or less depending on how often you research).
And trust me - you are far from the only one in this boat. I think pretty much everyone is in this boat! Half of the reason why I am posting all these tips is to remind myself to do these things!

Karen Packard Rhodes said...

I am getting ready to do just this -- match up paper with electrons! I keep my files in binders, by parental couple, through the generations. I have more documents than I realized I do!

You are very wise, and I only wish I had had the sense to begin when I was your age (many decades ago), because most probably you still have older people you can interview and receive information from. I have nearly no one left (but have interviewed the one remaining individual from the older generation). So much I could have done, and didn't. Then it was too late.

You go, girl!