[APG Public List] Advice on organization

LBoswell laboswell at rogers.com
Wed Oct 21 12:21:00 MDT 2009

Wow. Sounds like you're going to be rolling up your sleeves!  I think this 
is a bit different than the archiving projects talked about before (in some 

I'd create a complete inventory of everything first, before I'd take any 
other steps. Lists of what's there and where.  Just enough description to 
make it easier to identify and locate the item again. Maybe using a 
spreadsheet so you can later move items and create categories.

As you go about listing the inventory, you'll also be getting a fuller 
understanding of how to proceed further based on what's there.  My 
suggestion would be to not try to enter anything into Legacy as you go. I'd 
say that will just slow the process down.  And save on a lot of errors too!

Once you know what's there, you can then work from the inventory list to 
quickly create a filing system by using categories or some other format. 
There are probably as many filing preferences as there are family historians 
but there are also some standardized approaches that are time-tested.


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Denise Mc Enerney
  To: apgpubliclist at apgen.org
  Sent: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 1:30 PM
  Subject: [APG Public List] Advice on organization

  Hello All,

  This is my first time posting to this list, so please bear with me.  I 
recently agreed to help a woman organize her collection of family 
memorabilia.  It turns out that she has about 5 banker boxes of mostly 
letters between many family members; interspersed with written works, 
certificates (mostly from educational institutions I believe),  diaries, 
etc.  Many family members have been involved in important organizations and 
events.  She didn't even show me the room with the photos yet!  She has 4 
4-drawer file cabinets that she is hoping to have everything organized in. 
She does have a fairly outdated but working PC, with dial-up internet 
connection, and I believe I have talked her into downloading the free 
version of Legacy so that we can start inputting information in as we go 
along,  She has also done quite a bit of research over the years, but doesn't 
have it organized.  Being in the process of starting a genealogy business 
offering this type of service, I feel this is a perfect worse-case scenario, 
and am hoping to gain some good experience in what kind of collections like 
these are out there.  Does anyone have any advice?  I'm thinking that the 
letters should be tackled first, and have them , perhaps, in chronological 
order?  Or should the be organized by family member?   I think the majority 
of the letters are between her parents.  This woman is in her mid 80's by 
the way, and she comes from a family of "keepers" as she calls it.

  Thanks in advance for any input on my adventure!



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