[APG Public List] Advice on organization

Ann L. Wells annwells at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 21 13:47:27 MDT 2009

Several years ago I was asked to organize 40 years of research. The woman had a few files by surname and that is what I decided to continue. Because she would write on odd bits and pieces of paper, it was hard to decide what would go into what surname file. I finally decided to sort by the first name on the paper and later on made copies when necessary.

I originally gave an estimate of 6 months, but in the end it took 18 months. I went to her home twice a week for almost all of that time. Half way through the organization she asked that I do some research and put the family together.  In the end, there were 23 3-ring binders. Each notebook was labeled by surname and then in chronological order within, as much as possible. I made an index in each notebook and one master index that was something like 35 pages long. 

Also in this project were over 1000 photos which were sorted by description - immediate family. ancestors, cemetery, homes, churches, friends and a miscellaneous files.

I was well paid, but what I learned really was priceless. 

Good luck Denise!


Ann L. Wells
Wells Research Associates
Crystal Lake, IL
Member of APG, 
International Society for British Genealogy 
and Family History, Illinois State 
Genealogical Society



From: Denise Mc Enerney <denise at macrep.com>
To: apgpubliclist at apgen.org
Sent: Wed, October 21, 2009 12:30:19 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  She does have a fairly outdated but working PC, with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!
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: ../attachments/20091021/2d244cc7/attachment.html

More information about the APGPublicList mailing list