Sorting Genealogy: like ABC and 123

When I started recording my genealogy, I never thought that I would amass the numerous names that I currently (as of 2011) have now.

Two things I learned after 40+ years of research is:

  • Keep organized; or at least try to
  • And if you can’t keep organized, change your filing system until it works and you can do so

My current system took over 35 years to perfect with the last revision being about ten years ago.

Before The System

Everything of importance was written down on bits of paper – some odd samples were:  paper towels and dinner napkins, cigarette package flaps, restaurant matchbook covers and coloured tissue paper. Paper everywhere!

My mother could attest; she would find “my research bits” all over my room, shoved in my school pack, in my closet, in my pillow (the really important bits), under my bed, on and in my dresser. And she knew when I was researching – paper sheets would form arcing rows around me and my research binder in the middle of the floor.

Things haven’t changed too much since then.  Ask my wife, MiLady, she finds my notes all over the house, in and under my computer cabinet which holds my new laptop, nine thumb drives (portable sticks), two external backup drives, an old laptop, old desktop and an old briefcase, then there’s the menagerie of frames at the top of the staircase, on either side of the corner walls — then the 4 bookshelves, 6 bankers boxes and 27 binders of various sizes in the walk-in bedroom closet (in the guest room) … oh, and nine more bankers boxes in the basement … I think that’s everything

Is this where I mention the mobile cabinet from Chrysler in the drive way?


And that’s how I keep everybody sorted out in 27 binders (in addition to proofs/copies and citations):

  • 18 – Mum’s paternal line (HODGSON) ATKINSON
  • 2 – pos. cousins (CUSSONS) ATKINSON
  • 1  – pos. cousins (WATSON) ATKINSON
  • 1 – Mum’s maternal line (FIRKINS) HEMMINGWAY
  • 1 – Dad’s maternal line (MENARD) MOREAU
  • 1 – Dad’s paternal line (MARSLAND) HALLIWELL
  • 1 – collected detail work for OGS Upper Canada certificate
  • 3 – collected detail work for Son of the American Revolution (SAR) post-nominal; x7
  • 1 – collected detail work for United Empire Loyalist (UE) post-nominal; x2
  • 1 – collected detail work for ICAPGen

Clear as mud, right? (0.0)


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