Organizing your family tree records is very time consuming, as this involves a huge amount of research. It is quite difficult to search for very old ancestral records, and when you do find them you have to preserve them. You need a combination of ancestral chart software and manual research to get an accurate family tree record.
It is a very complex task and unless you are organized it can easily turn into chaos. The amount of documents and information that you will handle should be stored and identified properly or you will end up with a jumbled mess of mixed up documents. Here are some tips on how to organize your family tree records.
- Look for family genealogy software, download it and learn how to use it.
- Create a cascading pedigree chart for your family, from your known ancestors down to your children. One of the better ways to start your family tree records is to begin with the current generation, the marriages and children and move backwards to the parents and then up to the ancestors and forebears, as far as you are able to dig documents and records.
- Make a separate file for each set of parents or family group and subdivide it to include marriages and subsequent children, children’s marriages and grandchildren. Include the copies of birth certificates, baptismal certificates, wedding contracts, death certificates, possible name changes, newspaper clippings and photographs. Include as much information as you can in each file. These files should contain all the original documents that you find and must be kept at home.
- Have a copy of the original document files and use this as your working files that you should carry with your every time you go out for research. You can sort these into files bearing the surname of each branch of the family. You can add notes, bits of information and new-found documents here for transfer to the original files. Include an ancestral time line and the pedigree sheets here as well as family group sheets that will include all children.
- Another set of file that you have to prepare along with your working file is a portable one that includes a master list of all the ancestors and all information you have on them as well as all pedigree and family group charts. This will be your master reference file. You may find some other family groups that while you are doing your research that is not included in your working file. You can then check if they are your direct relatives, distant relations or not related to you at all from your portable file.
- Transfer all your new original documents in the proper folder. Do not forget to make copies for your working file. Once you have verified all your information, update your computer file using whatever genealogy software you are using. Print out a copy to share with other relatives. This is another way to verify the information that you have gathered.
Having an organized family tree records will facilitate your documentation and access to all files. A chronological filing system will help you greatly when you are transferring your paper records into an electronic form that can be accessed by future generations.