Saturday, August 10, 2013

Organization... a dirty word in my genealogy world...

[I originally began this entry over a month ago... but my progress was so slow, I put off the completion and posting until now...]

Last night [almost 2 months ago...] I heard a terrible crash and sound of breaking glass from my study/office. Upon investigating, I found that one of my many precarious book stacks had fallen over (thank you gravity)... and unfortunately, landed on a bunch of picture frames I had dragged out of a cabinet the other day... and of course left out all over the floor (well, actually the floor was buried, so I left them on top of piles of stuff)... so anyway, the books broke some of the picture frame glass (nothing important, so no tears).... But still messy. Ugh.

So today, I have managed to pick up glass, gather up frames, and restack said books. And now I'm on a quest to find one of the 3 pair of scissors I own, that have all disappeared... swallowed up by office clutter.
I had taken a photo of the "accident" to post with this, but decided the humiliation of claiming that disaster area as my own was too much... so your imagination will have to do (and I assure you, it will be far kinder than reality!).
But I digress... and am off to find one of my scissors! 
[fast forward 7 weeks]

Organization… something all genealogists strive for… yet many fail to accomplish! The fellow genealogists in my life have all heard me talk of “trying to get organized” for ages! [My cousin Jamey could say Years!]    And I know I’m not alone~
The sad/frustrating part is, once upon a time ago—I was incredibly organized! Which was no small feat, because I am a “paper genealogist” – printing forms & charts and creating binders with actual, tangible documents, photos, etc.  Of course, way back then, my binders & file folders were all organized and up-to-date as well!

Fast forward a few years – I took a couple of years off from active research – and basically just collected new data – without really organizing and keeping on top of the new stuff I acquired. Fast forward a few more years and the data collecting continued – and add in a computer crash [and total loss of data], a move to a new home [Hello, office chaos!] , and other projects & responsibilities that put research on a low priority…. [sigh]
Now today—the realization that enough is enough – I can no longer tolerate the home office/study that is in such disarray, that it is left totally non-functioning. And the desire to re-examine old brick walls & other lines is hampered by the lack of organization.
So, I’ve been sorting, organizing, filing, purging, and otherwise making some headway in my quest to be the organized superstar I once was!  But it sure is a daunting task to overhaul 20+ years of research! Ugh. Of course, a bonus part of sorting through mounds of papers, sheet by sheet, is that you find all of this great stuff you had forgotten about!  So now, not only am I now filing these items correctly, I have a notebook where I’ve been jotting down notes regarding items I want to research further….  I’m trying not to get waylaid from organizing by new research quests… That’s the carrot keep dangling in front of myself… my reward for finally ‘getting the job done’!
New Bookcase, already loaded with books
that previously lived on the floor
It’s no secret, lack of organization is unhealthy for people—the chaos is stressful and wastes many hours of a one’s life ‘trying to find stuff’. Lucky for me, I have the skills and a system that previously worked for me [when I used it] – and finally have what’s been missing for years now – Motivation!

I’ve read articles on organizing genealogy – pursued other blogs posts – and joined a great Facebook group “The Organized Genealogist” which is full of folks who are motivated to be organized and share ideas and dilemmas with one another. If organization skills & ideas are an interest to you… you might think of joining the group! I know you will be amazed at all of the ideas, as I am!
This link will get you right to the page!

And now, as of today, I have organized enough that I am even ready to change furniture (already swapped out to old bookcases for two nice sleek new ones)... and picked up paint swatches to decide on new color for the walls! Woo Hoo!  Progress


  1. Excellent post Nicholas! I haven't been doing my genealogy as long as you have but my office sure has gotten out of control . . . your words, "And the desire to re-examine old brick walls & other lines is hampered by the lack of organization" is exactly the way I feel. I cannot research, work or do anything when my papers, files and stuff are out of control and all over the place. Between your post and the Organizing fb group, I am becoming motivated to "gitter" done! Thank you!

    1. Hang in there, Gini! Once we decide to do it, we can! The desire to actually get back to quality research is all the motivation I've needed to get busy and organize!
      I just started pile by pile and separated into family specific folders... working on from there.
      Thanks for reading and your note!