As you know from one of my recent posts, for Christmas, I received the gift of my own room – actually 2 rooms because there’s a tiny room just off of “my” room. This is to be my genealogy (and scrapbooking) sanctuary. A place where I can make and sort my piles and not have to put them away. A place for me to put papers and maps all over the wall and not worry about what visitors might think. And I’ve been spending any free time that I have on the week-ends re-painting and moving furniture and such and now it’s finally at a place where I can do a little genealogy without tripping over stuff. It still has a ways to go to be my ideal room, but at least it’s usable and today, I’ve been able to spend the day working on my files.

But what I’m finding it that my files are SCATTERED all over the house! You know how it is, take a file from your filing cabinet to the library. Write all over the file and keep it in a backpack for your next trip. But you need the backpack for a different reason, so the file gets put on the kitchen counter. Then company comes, so you put the file into a drawer – on and on it goes.

So now, my goal is to start collecting everything genealogy related from the various rooms and desks and drawers and backpacks of the house and into my genealogy room. Each of the cubbies that I’ve purchased will be dedicated to a surname as I gather the files. Whenever I get to spend some time in my room, I’ll go through the stacks and get them placed into the correct file in my filing cabinet.

Now I can hear many of you saying, “It’s time to go paperless!” and for the most part, I do have digital versions of my collection, but it’s just not the same as flipping through the pages and writing questions and thoughts in the margins. Not to mention the fact that I have digital files on an old laptop, on an external drive, on Dropbox and Google Drive and on a couple of flash drives.  The flash drives go with me everywhere so that when I have time to do some web surfing, I have my files with me. But until recently, I haven’t had a flash drive large enough for ALL my files, so my digital dilemma is very similar to my paper dilemma. Which location has the most recent file? Did I combine my newest information with the information on my laptop?

So I’m beginning with one family line – Stephens. And I’m making my largest flash drive my final location for files. I’ll be comparing my paper notes with my digital files and getting everything into the FINAL location. When I think I have found all of my print outs, folders, files, binders, etc. and put them in my room and all of my notes for a family up to date, then I’ll print them out and replace anything in my filing cabinet that needs to be updated and then I will throw away the old files. I’ve always been reluctant to throw out anything because of the stuff I written in the margins, but that’s how I’ve gotten into the mess I’m in now. So this will be the ultimate purging of my files. Will this be a quick process, of course not. But I have a feeling that as I go through these things, I will find that puzzles will be solved and I’ll have a more complete set of notes to research from in the future!

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