Tips to Organizing your Information for
your Family Tree
Duxbury and Kevin Cook
There are 12 steps to keep you
organized when making a family tree.
1. Gather all the supplies
for your project.
You will need file boxes with lids, colored
hanging file folders, standard green hanging files, manila folders,
pens, highlighters, labels for folders, dot or star stickers, lined
paper, additional boxes to expand your storage, a carrying case to hold
all of this in, and a wall size pedigree chart. Pedigree charts can be
found on most ancestry websites or at your local library.
File your family pedigree charts
Print a complete set of all
your pedigree charts starting with yourself and working back. Label one
of the green hanging folders "Pedigree Charts" and place all of these
charts in it. Pedigree charts can be located at most ancestry and
genealogy sites. Fill them out as much as you can. The more info you can
fill out now, the easier it will be later.
3. Print a copy of the Circled 5 generation Pedigree Chart
Print a color copy of the Circled 5 Generation Pedigree Chart. You are
the 5th generation. Your sixteen great grandparents are the first
generation. Use the color code provided with the chart to fill in the
rest. This chart can be found at most genealogy websites.
Put 16 hanging file folders in your box
This step needs no
explanation. Just place 16 hanging file folders in your box. You may
need more later on but 16 is the basic you will need for all your great
6. Label the colored hanging file folders with
your family surnames.
Label each of the folders with the
surname of each of your 8 great grandfathers, and the maiden names of
your 8 great grandmothers. If you don't know the surnames (last names)
of your great grandmothers, do as many as you can and try to contact
family members that may know other names.
7. Put a
highlighted copy of your 5-generation pedigree chart in each of the
Print 16 more copies of your 5-generation
pedigree chart with you as 1 on the chart.
On one of the
pedigree charts, highlight the names of all persons with the same last
name using the color assigned to that last name. File the highlighted
pedigree chart in its last name hanging file folder.
the process of highlighting a last name line and filing the pedigree
chart in its hanging folder for each of the 16 last names of your
great-great grandparents. This may seem tedious, but you will appreciate
how much easier it makes things later.
8. Set up a file for
each family on your 5-generation pedigree chart.
manila folders for each of the families by putting a colored labels on
the file tab. Match the label color to the color of each family group
record. Be sure to use sticky labels. Sticky labels are great because if
you have to change something, you just place a label over the existing
one. They help keep things organized.
9. File the manila
Place the manila family folders in hanging folders,
matching the color of the label on the manila family folder to the color
of the hanging file folder. Color coding everything makes things so
much easier to find later.
10. Put these items in each
In a family folder place the family group
record of the family, documents you have already gathered for that
family, and any notes you have taken on the family.
up other useful files
Set up other files containing letters,
photos, emails, birth certificates, etc. Anything that you can think of
that may fit into its own category, make a file for it. It makes it much
easier to locate later.
12. Expand to other boxes as needed
When one of your files gets too big to fit into your box, simply
move it to another box. Take as many boxes as you need to get all the
information you need. Having multiple organized boxes is much better
than having it all in one box unorganized and a jumbled mess.
Following these easy steps will help keep you organized while creating
your family tree. With such a big undertaking, organization is