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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Feedback: Week 1 FINALLY Get Organized!

Now that I've published the second week's checklist, there's a flood of feedback from those who worked through the week one checklist. It's amazing to see how people are making progress. We all need to FINALLY Get Organized! And I realize I must begin doing this with Mr. Myrt.

Janet S. writes "Thanks for the suggestions, I would like to take the challenge as It will help me to function more freely."

In response to June B's post Organized, Me? It might happen in 2016, Ol' Myrt here writes:I'm sure you'll like the next two week checklists to see that Ol' Myrt here also files by surname/maiden name. I'm particularly glad you figured out how best to handle research with the "movable 5x8 inch cards." The tactile experience makes it easier for many folks. Whatever helps our brains solve research challenges, right?
Marie G writes referring to Myrt's idea for a "quick store" file box"
My genealogy being all digital now (except for the rare documents I own and books), the box is not really useful for me." This sounds incredibly organized. Proud of you. But, Marie you are probably younger than Ol' Myrt here. When I get home from a research trip, where making photocopies was the only option, it's all I can do to throw those papers in my "quick store" file box and take a much needed rest.

Louis Kessler writes "I use OneNote. But for #4 [red clipboard for computer issues], if you use Evernote or any other program, make sure it's also on the cloud, or you may not be able to access it in case of computer problems." Louis' point is well taken,. Your computer may be incapacitated. Thankfully, both programs can sync all notes on all your devices - desktop computer, laptop, tablet and smart phone.

Wade G. goes into detail describing his work space. "My desk, is an old sewing machine cabinet my Grandfather gave my Grandmother as a wedding present in 1950. [...] To my right is an antique dressing table, I use as an extension to the desk.  [...] In front of the "desk" I have my Great-Great Grandmother's sewing machine (1915 Singer that still works!)." 
Surrounding oneself with family heirlooms
when researching ancestors
is particularly fitting,
wouldn't you say?
Cynthia Hall is fortunate to have a sizable work space. "My desk is one that my son made for me from my specifications. It is 8ft x 3ft and I still think I need more room!! My Mac is in the middle of the desk with my iPad on the left and my PC on the right. The printer sits on a shelf with paper storage underneath. Right now, I have the network sitting in corner of my desk, but that will be moving to my husband's "man-cave."

Lynn Dosch sees a slight problem: "I often research on my laptop in my armchair in the living room. I've got my work cut out for me this week!  I think I can figure out a way to get a desk into the basement family room." Having a "genealogy corner" will help you pull things from every nook and cranny in the house. You've probably been meaning to do this. We tend to forget the photos in the box on the shelf in the closet, the flash drive and photocopies in our research bag. And don't forget the papers cleared off the table before Thanksgiving and stashed under your bed for safekeeping. Now is the time to get everything in one place so you can:
  • See what you've got.
  • Organize necessary binders or storage boxes.
  • Keep things in one place.
  • Create digital file folders.
  • Scan and file everything. Eventually, as we work through the weekly checklists. 
  • Describe the provenance for all photos and documents.
One of our regular hangout panel participants, Hilary Gadsby, outlines her plan of action for organizing her digital files. She cites lack of consistency that contributes to problems finding her digital files and the inadvertent duplication of files. You'll want to visit her blog to see her list of genealogy folders on her computer. Yes, Hilary, we will be going through everything systematically.

Many participants included photos of their clean computer desks. I'd like to use this photo from Yvonne Demoskoff's blog post "FINALLY Get Organized! Jan 3rd-9th 2016" at Yvonne's Genealogy Blog.

IMAGE: Yvonne's computer desk.

You can tell Yvonne has been doing family history research for many years. She explains "About 15 years ago, my husband and I went shopping at IKEA (we live near Vancouver, British Columbia) and bought eight Billy bookcases (including a corner unit and CD unit). One unit is dedicated to genealogy, but the others are filled with royal biographies, peerage books (Burke’s and Cokayne), and genealogy tables (Europ√§ische Stammtafeln, Almanac de Gotha, and L’Allemagne Dynastique). One my right beside me (on my desk and on the wall on open shelves) are personal genealogy binders and assorted books." She has given us a peek at some of her bookcases.

IMAGE: A few of Yvonne's 8 genealogy bookshelves.
Yvonne probably has the ultimate genealogy work space, with plenty of shelving for research binders and reference books. Most local FamilySearch Centers aren't as fortunate.

Whether you have a genea- cave like Yvonne's or you work mostly on a laptop with your knees curled under you on the sofa:

Our genealogy research requires
a dedicated central work space.

You'll find DearMYRTLE's 2016 FINALLY Get Organized! Checklists will guide you to gather, preserve, and organize paper ephemera in addition to priceless one-of-a-kind photographs, documents and family heirlooms. From there, your research will reach new heights.

We won't have overlooked
info items
in documents
we've already collected.

Honestly how many times have you gone back and taken a look at documents you've previously filed, only to find you've overlooked an important clue?

These checklists work for both the paper-oriented and digitally-oriented genealogists.


Hangouts: Pay what you want. So it's simple. If you value the work Ol' Myrt, +Cousin Russ and our beloved panelists do week in and week out on your behalf, please:

Check the DearMYRTLE Hangouts Calendar for upcoming study groups and hangouts. There you'll find links to the GeneaConference (in-person) and the GeneaWebinars Calendar with over over 200 hours of online genealogy classes, webinars, live streams and tweetchats from other hosts and presenters over the next 12 months.