Most genealogists get to the point where they realize that they have a lot of information and it’s not well organized. We start out trying to be organized, or we don’t really know what we’re doing. And then one day, the idea of how to get better organized hits us.

Then we have to actually make it happen. After a lot of years of research, that gets even harder. I have long put off my own research in favor of my clients’ research, as rightly I should, but I still often snuck in some work on my own family. The problem is, while I’ve gathered records over the years, I haven’t been adding information into my database.

I have a folder on my computer called “Documents To Do” inside of my genealogy folder. It has over 3,000 files in.

OK, so about 1,000 of them are Chicago birth records that I began indexing. But then Cook County went and indexed them all, so I didn’t have to do that anymore. Maybe I should delete those, because I didn’t find my cousins’ records until that other index showed up.

I also have some other records that I’ve meant to index, or do something with. I have been collecting Feldstein records for a one name study that I haven’t really started. I have about 300 census images, but I only finished gathering those up to 1910.

That still leaves at least 2,000 files. So how am I going to go about organizing that?

One file at a time.

And that’s what I’ve been doing this month, instead of blogging. I’ve been meaning to blog. I found someone in a census seven years after she died and thought that might make for an interesting short blog post. I got to work on my 1940 census entries and found two in a row that had the supplemental question — I hadn’t noticed that I had any before. And I just keep digging away, slowly, at the records. I even added a new person to the database, when I found an uncle in someone’s household.

I actually started this bout of organizing last year, or was it the year before, so I have to figure out where I left off and continue that part also. I was working on replacing my paper files with digital copies; where they came from the Family History Library, I am scanning from the microfilm again instead of just scanning the old paper copy.

I’ll be doing this for a very long time but hopefully I’ll make a serious dent. I’m trying to avoid finding any more records until I’ve gotten all the old ones straightened out. So far this month, I’ve been pretty good about that. But I have no doubt that I will be adding new documents as I find them. I just have to make sure they go straight into my database so I don’t have to revisit them to figure them out again.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have more organizing to do in my own database, right after I deliver some things to my clients.

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