It’s Time To Get Organized – My Genealogy Rewind or Getting My Poop In A Group

I remember when I first started doing genealogy someone said you can tell a genealogist by the mounds of papers they have on and around their desk. Over the years that visual has stayed in my head and there are times I’ve become that genealogist. But now I’ve decided that its time to, dare I say it? Get my poop in a group.

The problem when you let these stacks of paper accumulate is that you lose control of your research. At least I feel that way.  As you can see from the photos of my desk, it’s recently gotten out of hand. There are times that I feel I might have an important document in my own archives of papers. Perhaps I may have found it early on in my research and I don’t realize that I have. I decided that I need to bring all my papers together in one spot.  That coupled with the fact that my husband; Kevin is kinda a neat nut so I’m learning some of his techniques.

So last week I decided was the day that I would start my tidy up program. I know there are programs and courses on the subject but I wanted to do it my way. I’m a crafter so I had some plastic craft boxes and I happened to have 4 colors so I started out with that approach. I identified each bin with a family and as I came across a paper that was to do with that family it was put in the box.

It started to take shape.

Then enter Kevin, remember I said he’s a neat nut,  he said, what if you had racks you could put the boxes in?  Then the project evolved. Next thing you know we were on our way to Michael’s to purchase two carts with bins in them. We stated one on top of the other. We got mine at Michael’s but you can also get them on Amazon.

I took cardstock and cut blue and pink labels to put on the front of each bin. The top bins are for family surnames from my father’s side (hence the blue) and the bottom is for my mom’s side (hence the pink). I even have a bin for the Beaton Batten Mystery (notice the brickwall background) and Shirtail Relations.

So the office is coming together. There will be other articles and a section of its own on the blog in the near future as I continue to “Get my Poop in a Group”, I’ve also started a Pinterest page called; Getting My Poop In A Group.  where I’ve posted some of the things I’ve found so far to help with my effort to get my genealogy organized. I hope you’ll follow along and I’d love to hear your ideas as to how you’re getting your poop in a group.



  • akpuffin says:

    You new system sounds great. The problem I have is keeping up with it. I am able to work on my genealogy “in between” keeping my other things going (paying bills, doing secretarial work for several groups – voluntary, etc.) so my home office has many piles of “stuff”. I like the system you have however so I may try that and see how it works for me.

  • Willene Gillies says:

    I had plastic tubs of papers setting on the floor. I got tired of that, purchased two file cabinets, one for my father’s side and one for my mother’s. I then purchased four different colors of hanging folders, one for each grandparent. Thus far, I have emptied my father’s plastic tub and filed everything into his cabinet but I am still working on my mother’s tub. In the meantime, I am still collecting more papers and seem to have no real time to spend studying them over or entering info into either my software programs or my binders. Sometimes the job is just overwhelming. I may not live long enough to get everything in order.

    • Willene, yes it can be an overwhelming task at times. But often disorganized papers is even more overwhelming. You have a plan and that’s what’s important. You got this.

  • Patricia Greber says:

    Good for you! Your system looks like a a the perfect way to incorporate into your day to day research.

  • Sharon Clay says:

    You are a beginner…wait until each name becomes half a file drawer. Then you wind up digitizing, Then the problem is how to remember what you have on paper and what you have digitized, and where you filed it in your digital files. (sounds easy, but it’s also easy to lose “stuff” that you KNOW you have, and can’t find. Pretty soon you become an organization freak and stop doing genealogy and continue to refine your organizing.

    • Hi Sharon, I appreciate your comment. I know that many have been doing genealogy for much longer than I have, but because I’ve done genealogy for most of my waking hours for the past 18 years, I don’t think I still qualify for beginner status. I want to explain that this is where I’m keeping my spare notes that haven’t qualified to be in my genealogy files. I will be posting about them later. I also want to explain that I don’t want my system to be cumbersome so that I can’t continue to work on my genealogy and the work I do for others. But I do want to leave a legacy for family that is organized enough that they won’t throw it away.

    • Bev Nethercote says:

      Hi Sharon. Organise your digital files on your computer exactly the same as your paper files and then you will know exactly where to find your “stuff”. I have no problems locating files either in the folders or on the computer.

  • Mary says:

    Wow! Very impressive!