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How to Organize a Mountain of Genealogy Discoveries

Paper clutter with title how to organize a mountain of genealogy discoveries

Having a mountain of genealogy records, ephemera, and photos is a nice problem to have. Ever wonder how you could organize your genealogy discoveries without going crazy?

After traveling to Columbus, Ohio for a genealogy trip, I was amazed at the volume of family history I obtained. In 2012, I said I had enough information to keep me busy for years. I was not kidding. Seven years later, I’m still not processing the discoveries.

I know, I know. Many people will say, “If only I had this problem.” Well, this is a blessing and a curse.

Back then, I didn’t know how I would process all of the photos, stories, documents, and new discoveries while keeping up with all the additional information coming in. I still struggle, but there are a few things I have learned about organizing and stopping to breathe every now and then during the avalanche seasons.

What’s Your Genealogy Organization Style?

The question for you will be, how involved do you want your organization process to be? Andy and I differ dramatically in our organizational style.

VIDEO: What's your genealogy organizational style

Watch this video on YouTube.

Begin Organizing Your Genealogy Discoveries

The first step to becoming more organized involves labeling photos! I can’t say this enough. Label your photos. If you want to learn more, then I made this video to explain the process.

VIDEO: Organize your photo collection

Watch this video on YouTube.

Once your documents, photos, and more are digitized, you’ll need to organize that information. I have a digital file organization system that you might like. Check it out here:

VIDEO: Organize your digital genealogy files

Watch this video on YouTube.

Next, you’ll want to find a genealogy software program. I currently use RootsMagic. Here are a few reasons why:

VIDEO: Why RootsMagic is awesome

Watch this video on YouTube.

Create and Sync Online Trees to Organize Genealogy Records

If you have never organized your family history information, you’ll need to organize your research using a genealogy program (such as RootsMagic) and online trees (like FamilySearch and Ancestry).

Follow this workflow:

  1. Add yourself to the FamilySearch Family Tree until you reach your deceased ancestors in the worldwide tree.

  2. Download no more than 10 generations (I would recommend only 6, but some folks would laugh at me) to my computer using the RootsMagic program.

  3. Upload the file from RootsMagic to using the Sync feature.

With this structure in place, you can add the home resources that you digitized.

VIDEO: How to TRANSFER your family tree from Ancestry to FamilySearch

Watch this video on YouTube.

You can transfer information from through RootsMagic and to FamilySearch if you have already built a tree on that platform. Bruce Busbee explains in this video.

VIDEO: The challenge of syncing FamilySearch and Ancestry Family Trees

Watch this video on YouTube.

Get Started Organizing Your Genealogy Files Today!

Hopefully, you’ve found nuggets of wisdom that you can implement into your organizational system. Get started today! You’ll be glad you did.

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