Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The G-Files

While everyone is moving toward binders and digitization of genealogical records, I've taken a step back in records management time. I bought 100 manila folders and I'm not afraid to use them.

I do keep the official records in archive-safe binders. I also have records and photos on my computer. However, I needed a place where I could keep copies of everything for a person.

My manila folders are not archive friendly. I don't intend them to be. Obviously, not everyone in my tree will get the manila folder treatment, but there are many people for which I want deep study.

Each folder is labeled with a person's name. Inside you might find census records, birth/marriage/death certificate copies (not the real thing), newspaper articles, a picture or two, and any other records that would help me tell a story about this person. I will also have a records inventory for each file. Each folder will also have a page of my own personal notes (usually handwritten scribbles) and anything else that is important.

I'm setting up these files to help me prepare to write about these people's lives, should I ever do so. Also, when I do research somewhere, I can just take the pertinent files with me. I don't have to pull anything out of binders.

I took Records Management in library school and it was one of the most useful classes I had. I totally respect the preservation process, but sometimes you just have to go old school when gathering information.


  1. I hear ya! I use the large (9"X13" - I think) envelopes.

  2. I hear ya sister! I still use index cards - different colored ones. 1 person per card and I pin them up on my cork board (or GASP! tape them to the wall!) when I need a visual of the family group, cluster, etc. or when doing instensive research.