Saturday, December 22, 2012

Getting Organized: Boxes, Bags, Backup, and Charts

In 2013, I plan to finish (ha!) reorganizing my genealogy documents and photos for archival storage. I'm gonna scan, scan, scan, and then store, store, store to protect these all-important clues to my family's historical background.

Today I put all of Sis's school memorabilia and documents into protective envelopes, arranged by year, so if she feels like looking at a college newspaper or reliving her spelling bee glory (champ of our junior high, representing us in the New York City bee), she can just open the archival box and browse! That's what sisters are for :)

Here are the tools I'm using to organize and protect things...what are you using and how do you like your results so far?
  1. Archival storage boxes with metal-reinforced corners to stay sturdy when stacked. I bought these boxes in various sizes from Dick Blick. With my handy-dandy label maker, I stuck names on each box. Last month I had to order more, but that wasn't a problem since I was ordering . . . .
  2. Archival acetate document display/storage bags with resealable closure. Again, from Dick Blick. Inexpensive and I like to be able to seal things in, so they don't move or fall out. My photos and documents are currently in three-ring-punched archival plastic holders but over time, I'm going to move many to the storage bags so nothing slips out. Those that I want to keep handy I'll put in binders for handy reference or maybe I'll just keep copies in the binders...not sure yet. But I can stick labels on the outside of these with extra info about the contents.
  3. Mozy for data backup. Mozy works automatically, in the background, backing up my photos and scans and data every day at the time I choose. I've used it for years and I like the security of backing up into the cloud, not just on an external hard drive sitting right on my desk (backing up every hour, thanks to Apple's Time Machine).
  4. Pedigree charts so family members can figure out who's who in each directly line quickly and easily. I use Misbach's free downloadable .pdf pedigree charts. I type in everything, note which pedigree charts connect to others in the line, and label each chart with alphanumeric designations (like 1W, 2W, 3W for the Wood line) to help keep ancestors straight. I date each one to be able to know at a glance which is the latest version. Yes, I DO have Family Tree Maker, and I do synch with Ancestry, but I like these separate pedigree charts as well. Especially since with a highlighting marker, I can show the younger relatives who their Mayflower ancestors are, right on a paper chart of their very own.
2013 will be a year of digging for more about the ancestors who made the journey from Old to New World, but that's a subject for another day.

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