Step 2c – Sort Your Stuff Into The File Folders

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As you go through your pile or box of collected family history information, you’ll sort through it and place everything into the proper folder. Each file folder will eventually contain all the information you have on each husband and wife and their children.


This step might take a little time.  But, it’s important to persevere and get this done.

Once you’ve finished this, then everything you know about each of your ancestors will all be collected in a single file folder.  Then you’ll be able to easily evaluate the information you have, and know what information you still might need.  And it will make entering the family information into the computer extremely easy.

Details — How To Do The Sorting


If you have books that contain family information, copy the pages that pertain to each individual and drop it into the right file folder (and don’t forget to include a note on the copies listing the name of the book they were copied from).

All the children’s records stay in the parent’s file folder — except your direct line ancestors — their records are kept in their own file folders.

Keep all the logs, checklists, documents, notes, printouts, old photos, etc. you have on that husband, wife and their children in their file folder. If the parents never married, they still get a folder together.

Records that cross generations (for example, that pertain to both a father and a son) can be copied and placed in both the father’s and the son’s file folders, or a note can be placed in one of the folders to refer you to the folder where the original is placed.

.What to do with fragile original documents?
See the bottom of this page…

What the contents of your file folders might ultimately look like:

File Folders in Process
BELOW in the “Extra Stuff” Is:
How To Set Up A Binder For Fragile Original Documents


Next Step

Step 2d.  Enter Your Family Info Into The Computer

Create Binder Fragile Info

Happiness, peace and contentment comes from knowing your original documents are safe.  Keep any fragile or special original documents in a sheet protector sleeve in your Original Documents Binder — and place a copy of them in the ancestor’s file folder..

As you gather together your family history information (and also during your research) you’ll have or acquire many original, fragile, older documents and photographs that deserve special attention.  Instead of just dropping them in a file folder, you might want to protect them by placing them in archival plastic sleeves in a separate binder for safekeeping.

Details — How To Do It Right
Original Documents Binding System

To protect those very old, fragile original documents you’ve collected:

  1. Make a copy of the document.

  2. Place the copy in the ancestor’s file folder.

  3. Write the “Last name, First name” of the husband from the file folder* on the sticky side of a post-it note.

  4. Put the original document in a sheet protector.

  5. Place the post-it note label sticky-side-facing-up against the plastic sleeve.

  6. Place the plastic sleeve in your Original Documents Binder.

Pretty easy, right?

You can use archival sheet protectors, such as those available from Staples or other office supply outlets.  They’re not very expensive.

* This keeps all the original documents from that file folder together.  If you label using the wife’s maiden and the children’s names, then the documents are scattered all over in your alphabetized binder.  But, remember, it’s your family history so you can do it any way you’d like.


Next Step
Step 2d.  Enter Your Family Info Into The Computer


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