Last weekend was a really nice one, although it felt a bit short. 🙂 One of the brights spots of the weekend was a phone conversation I had with my mom regarding her genealogy research.
A little backstory first: when I was first bit with the genealogy bug and started asking my mom questions, she was reluctant to offer up answers. However, after several months of prodding, begging and pleading for answers and particularly when I showed her my grandparents in the 1920 census, she caught the bug too. At first it was hard because we both were doing the same research but it wasn’t long until we decided that she should research her side of the family and I would research my Dad’s side of the family.
My mother worked a full-time job but with the odd hours she would work, she had free time during the day and would spend them at the local Family History Center. It was during these trips to the local Family History Center that she was able to research her family all the way back to the early 1600’s! She got farther than I did on my Dad’s side. Well she has been going reallystrong in her family research but with medical and other life issues she has had a drop in interest.
One day a few months ago, I went to visit her and she showed me the volumes and volumes of paperwork that she has accumulated during her research. She felt so overwhelmed with what she had and she asked me to help her organize it and I of course said I would. I first need to re-arrange me den because I will need ample room to organize her paperwork. Well in our conversation during this past weekend, I asked her why she doesn’t just stop her research? I thought she really did take the family tree as far back into history as we will be able to get, but she said that she didn’t know exactly where she was in her research. She felt so overshelmed with the amount of paper accumulated that she coudn’t see the forest for the trees. So I told her not to worry, that once we organize her family history research, that we will be able to determine not only just how far she has come, but whether or not she is ready to stop.
I plan on doing several things that will help organizing this large project. First I am going to seperate all of the documents by surname. Then seperate the collateral family members from the direct family members and then put the documents in chronilogical order by family. Once I am done with one direct family, I also want to prepare a timeline for them as well. I am a firm believer that timelines will help put the large amount of paper research into a more understandable format and put into perspective the bigger genealogical picture, not just for my mother, but for me as well.
I undoubtedly have to buy a lot of folders to help organize the documents until they are ready to be put into a binder. This will help my mother so that she will have it handy to show the family without having to go searching for it in the files or on the computer.
We talked about other genealogy things too but I just really enjoyed talking to my mom for almost a hour about genealogy. We don’t do that as much as we should!
Any other ideas to help tame the paper research monster? Please leave your suggestions in the comment box below.
I have created binders for each of my four “main” lines. Within that binder I have tabs for each surname, starting with the “main” surname and then the sub-names as they go back in history. I do the same type of filing for my digital files. While you are going through her paperwork, you might think of digitizing it at the same time. Two birds, one stone. Good luck! It will be hard work, but I bet you’ll love it! Heather