Sunday, August 14, 2011

Organising my genealogical materials

I tend to be a somewhat impatient researcher. I always want to find the next link, get one generation further back. I probably developed this habit because when I started my family tree, it was for a school project, and all that mattered were the basic names and dates. The unfortunate result is a very disorganised pile of notes and charts, in which lots of details are missing, and it's hard to tell which ones.

So, my first task will be to get my research organised enough that I can easily see which data I'm missing, and add new information as I find it.

The main tool I'm using is the family group sheet. That form, along with some other useful charts and forms, can be downloaded for free on the website. The family group sheet is handy because it collects all the basic information about a couple and their children in one place.

So far I've completed family group sheets for all of my direct ancestors on my maternal side. My paternal side will take a bit longer, but I think it will be worth it to finally have some kind of system.

Now I just need to figure out how to organize my papers once I've got them all filled out...


  1. I highly recommend using a good genealogy program and start off right to organize the notes you have collected. I use The Master Genealogist, but there are several excellent ones on the market, and most will let them use for free for 30 days before you buy.
    Good luck!
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

  2. I've used a couple of online tools, and thought about buying a proper program, but I always end up hesitating to spend the money and not getting one. Mostly I've considered buying Family Tree Maker. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll look into that further.

    I don't think I could abandon my piles of papers, though. I like working with papers strewn around me. A computer program could never fully replace that. :)