Started by Ailene Nechelle House on Thursday, September 12, 2013
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7/6/2014 at 5:21 PM

Lately, as I read the wonderful letters Jane (Facebook group --- et al. have wrote to their ancestors, I've been thinking about writing to my great grandmother Emily. Grandma Emily is probably like me when I was in college --- anxiously waiting for the 'letter from family'...

Jane's Gang --- Facebook group description "A place where we (by that, I mean, Jennifer Goins Guill) put all of Jane Brusca's letters, posts & comments regarding genealogy in one place."

"They are delightfully written with a wry sense of humor and great affection. Beware! You will find yourself rolling on the floor laughing and addicted to this hilarious writer!"

9/4/2015 at 8:04 AM

REPOST with Permission: Wheaton Kelly

This is for NEW GENEALOGISTS or those looking to revamp their systems. First I apologize for sounding like a broken record. I have nearly 45 years of experience so I have seen/done it all. Most of the systems for organizing are just fine when you start out or even ten years in but somewhere along the line the color coded, numeric, alpha numeric, file folders, binders etc is going to break down.

You may be able to remember 200 ancestors and where they fit into your tree but you aren't going to remember 10,000. Computerized programs are nice for that. When most of us start doing genealogy we may not have a well thought out GOAL and so the plan to achieve it leads to a breakdown in organizing. As we get older our goals change. We no longer are worried about filling in every blank and shift as I have to telling stories. Perhaps individual 9457 means something to you or FT436. Great. But ask yourself what is this going to mean to your children, grandchildren etc.

If they are going to look at all your hard work and either not be able to make sense of it or worse yet not care....then what you have done is fascinating and it may be beautifully arranged but if it isn't retained or read--- well it was just a nice past time.

What is most compelling about genealogy is the STORIES. Not names and dates but a ticket stub from the World's fair where grandma met grandpa. Its letters, diaries, photos, its knowing that great grandma married at 14 and searching to find out why. If you start NOW to organize with the idea of telling these stories I guarantee not only will you be happier, more organized and your research more focused---but so will those that come after you.

You can use any system you want but please think about the stories. Perhaps you have a binder or binders that are organized by surnames, or Irish immigrants or Revolutionary war Veterans. Just make sure to put all the information on any individual or family together. That means everything, not photos here, census there, birth certificates in that folder.
Think of it this you want to be scattered across files, boxes, cabinets?

A bunch of vertebrae in that box and hip bones on the other shelf? If a forensic scientist was trying to reconstruct your skelton would they not lay out all your bones, put them into order and then if they were trying to reconstruct your life and what you looked like they would slowly add meat to the bones.

Your job: should you choose to accept it, is to resurrect the people that made your life possible. Choose the ones that call to you and start assembling them now. You will be happier and all those that come after you as well. Trust me on this. Organize to tell stories, do not tell stories of how wonderfully you organize!

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