Saturday, January 2, 2010

Organizing the Research

I'm always curious about how my fellow genealogists organize their research. 

I admit it - I'm an old-fashioned sort of gal.  I prefer to write letters on stationary and put them in the mail, to use a notebook for my writing and then transcribe my work later, and to read books (often from the library!).

My record-keeping system is not ultra-organized, but it works for me at the moment. 

My software of choice is Legacy.  The source citation fields offer the best guidance, I think, and it is this feature that won me over from Family Tree Maker (I plan to donate my FTM software by leaving it on the book swap shelf at the library, because I *know* somebody has been picking up the issues of Family Tree Magazine, Mayflower Quarterly, and New England Ancestors I have been leaving there!  That said, I want to check in with the community center on base and see about starting a genealogy group).

In addition, I store all of the vital records and other precious family documents in archival-quality sleeves in 3-ring binders. 

I keep pedigree charts in those same sleeves in their own binders.  For me, working from paper pedigree charts offers a visual.  I don't write anything on a pedigree chart that is not yet proven.  If I don't have a source, I don't commit it to paper. 

I have considered a more complex system of folders and indexing, but I'm not sure it is necessary for me.

However, now I am considering printing out my pedigree charts.  One reason is that my writing is horrible.  My husband has lovely, perfect handwriting and printing.  However, mine resembles that of a first grader.  Well, perhaps a third grader...

Another thing on my mind is that our pedigree charts are separated into two families - my family and my husband's family.  Thus, the Hawksley side starts with my husband's name, and the Wood side begins with mine.

Yet, I'm wondering if it would be best to start from our son now if I decide to start printing the charts.  It would be nice to think about preparing for grandchildren...  Then again, what if our son decides he doesn't want children?  The charts for the Wood side could easily be passed on to my sister's children, should any of them choose to have children, or my little brother if he ever has children. 

The same goes for the Hawksley charts - they could go to one of my husband's siblings.

So here I am considering that little dilemma...  Are my husband and I each "number 1" for our separate lineages (despite many shared ancestors), or is our son now "number 1" for our combined lineages?

Hmm...

Well, I won't pose the question aloud, because we all know that our cat thinks HE is number one.  ;)

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