Organize Mountain of Discoveries

How to Organize a Mountain of Genealogy Discoveries

Having a mountain of genealogy records, ephemera, and photos is a nice problem to have. Ever wonder how you could organize your genealogy discoveries without going crazy?

After traveling to Columbus, Ohio for a genealogy trip, I was amazed at the volume of family history I obtained. In 2012, I said I had enough informaiton to keep me busy for years. I was not kidding. Seven years later, I’m still not processing the discoveries.

I know, I know. Many people will say, “If only I had this problem.” Well, this is a blessing and a curse.

Back then, I didn’t know how I would process all of the photos, stories, documents, and new discoveries while keeping up with all the additional information coming in. I still struggle, but there are a few things I have learned about organizing and stopping to breathe every now and then during the avalanche seasons.

What’s Your Organizational Style?

The question for you will be, how involved do you want your organization process to be? Andy and I differ dramatically in our organizational style.

How to Organize Your Genealogy Research Files: Simple Tips for Practical Genealogists
Watch this video on YouTube.
Who are you more like?

Begin Organizing Your Genealogy Discoveries

The first step to becoming more organized involves labeling photos! I can’t say this enough. Label your photos. If you want to learn more, then I made this video to explain the process.

How is Your Photo Collection? - Organized Genealogy
Watch this video on YouTube.
How to organize and label your photos

Next, you’ll want to preserve your photos, documents, and more. Here are a few tips from Tom Perry on how to do just that.

Preservation Tips from Professor Perry of Extreme Genes and TMC Place
Watch this video on YouTube.

With your documents, photos, and more digitized, you’ll need to organize that information. I have a digital file organization system that you might like. Check it out here:

How to Organize Digital Files for Genealogy Research
Watch this video on YouTube.

Next, you’ll want to find a genealogy software program. I currently use RootsMagic. Here are a few reasons why:

RootsMagic Review - 5 Things I Love
Watch this video on YouTube.

Create and Sync Online Trees to Organize Genealogy Discoveries

If you have never organized your family history information, you’ll need to organize your research using a genealogy program (such as RootsMagic) and online trees (like FamilySearch and Ancestry).

Follow this workflow:

  1. Add yourself to the FamilySearch Family Tree until you reach your deceased ancestors in the worldwide tree.
  2. Download no more than 10 generations (I would recommend only 6, but some folks would laugh at me) to my computer using the RootsMagic program.
  3. Upload the file from RootsMagic to using the Sync feature.

With this structure in place, you can add the home resources that you digitized.

How to transfer genealogy data between and Ancestry
Watch this video on YouTube.
There are two ways to accomplish this task. One involves using RootsMagic

You can transfer information from through RootsMagic and to FamilySearch if you have already built a tree on that platform. Bruce Busbee explains in this video.

The Challenge of Syncing RootsMagic, Family Tree and Ancestry
Watch this video on YouTube.
If you want to Sync your trees, you’ll need to watch this video first.
How to Organize a Mountain of Genealogy Discoveries #digitalfiles #organization #genealogy

Get Started Organizing Today!

Hopefully, you’ve found nuggets of wisdom that you can implement into your organizational system. Get started today! You’ll be glad you did.

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

One Comment

  • Cecil DEming

    Andy Lee says he dumps all genealogy into Family Search. I have used Family Tree Maker for about
    20 Years and seems to take everything that you dump into Family Search.

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