Organize what you know and prepare for what you are going to find

Yep, you will have to make a choice.

Choose your Methodology: Manually or Digitally

Manually

Physical papers and documents will need a storage place, begin with a folder and then a place for the folder like a box or file cabinet. Start with a father and his family using Family group sheet for the recording and then put any documents and photos or newspaper clippings on that family in the folder. You will notice that the folder will accumulate in no time. Then separate by the children’s names and so on.

My manual storage in one family tree for documents is stored in date order as it begins with first ancestors in early 1700s. I have 4 storage boxes and the 1st one is in date order. When I get to a certain generation, I then put them in name order for it is easier for me to find. Family name order is recommended and knowing your family’s names being easy to recognize on folders. You will want to keep photos, newspaper clippings, articles, documents like land records, wills, successions and organicational memberships information in books and magazines are copies with source information and some cases just purchased the book or magazine.

I don’t want to scare you off with my collections since 1982 but making sure you have the space as you continue your searching takes years of wonderful exploring your family and their history, immigrations, citizenships, countries of origin and much more. I also have computer storage both in program and online in several sites.

Digitally

There are many programs for computers or apps for computer storage just make sure you have your information backed up in several places such as flash drives and computer drives, just begin with your computer, and then keep backing up until you need more space, them move on to flash drives and passport drives as needed. The program I use is Family Tree Maker and I have updated once I need the newest version which has been available for years.

All costs for your needs are your decision to make you can spend very-little money or a lot. To me purchasing the FTM program was a one-time thing and I store it all on my computer drive and back up to a flash drive. Later, when I could afford to invest in a membership, which I have on hold at this time, I can restore my membership at any time.

Computer storage can also include website built for genealogy such as FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com, Geni and many more take your choice. Some are free and you just have register in their site, but many have subscriptions or memberships and as long as you pay your bill you are given access. On these sites you can post and store your files in FTM or other formats and you need to download them when you leave the site or your membership is going to expire. Once the membership is over, you will not have access until you renew the membership.

NOTE: You will have to probably do both manually and digitally and eventually as paperwork will accumulate and computers make it very easy to keep these records.

Remember what you are doing is important not only to you but also your family as you are preserving your history, culture and names. Also remember God loves you and he is blessing you every step of the way.