Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sorting Saturday - Resource Files

Somewhere back in my early days of genealogy research someone, or more likely several some ones, advised me to set up resource files for places and special interest topics. This would have been before the days when there was much available on the internet to "bookmark" or download, which is what I do now as opposed to saving paper. Still, I have all these files full of old paper resources.

Last night I was filing a couple of things (specifically my French and German Word Lists from the Family History Library) when it became apparent the Resources Section of the file drawer desperately needed to be cleaned out. OK, it's True Confession Time: the drawer was so full I couldn't stuff those two documents into the France and Germany folders!

I really didn't want to spend my evening cleaning out a file drawer; I was just trying to file 2 little words lists for crying out loud! I remembered an organizing tip I learned a while back. It goes something like this: when the file drawer gets too full, pick the fattest file and clean it out right then.

The fattest file was about 4 inches thick: the Forms file, blank ones. Most of these forms, or ones similar, can be found online and downloaded. So, I kept a few favorite forms that I use regularly, kept one copy of the others that I might use, and recycled the rest. When I am so inclined, I will scan the master of those forms I really think I will use and recycle the paper. I love forms but how many iterations of a Research Log does a genealogist need? I mean I designed my own a long time ago!

The French and German word lists are now filed but there are still some other pretty fat files in that drawer. I suspect many of those paper resources can now be found online so even more real estate could be freed up in this particular file drawer. What’s hiding in your paper files?

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum


  1. Today, I found in one of my paper files that I am reviewing prior to THE Trip:

    Discharge papers for Royal Lashbrook

    several documents outlining $$ borrowed and how many horses were put up as collateral.

    several birth and death records I some how never scanned?? done now

    old WPA index form for the 1920 census for Lashbrooks in Oklahoma that I had jotted a note on: "do I have this census" AND No, I did not, but, I do now.

    and more (still working) including paper containing film numbers of LDS films for localities I was searching in!


    and, back to work I go

  2. I have never printed any of the "other language" lists. I just have them on my laptop, and then backed up, of course. I should print them occasionally...especially my Swedish words. Great idea, I think I would study them more that way. My files aren't to full, but I sure have a couple piles again to go through and file!hyths

  3. Carol, You have got your work cut out for you before leaving on THE Trip! Some cool finds.

    Cheryl, I have print copies just because it's easier for me to look at when I'm trying to transcribe those French civil records. They are well worn. LOL

  4. Boy - can I relate to the FULL folders!

  5. Great tip to just deal with one small part of the bigger problem. It makes you feel accomplished.