Saturday, January 16, 2016

FINALLY Get Organized! Jan 10th-16th 2016

Blogger DearMYRTLE wants to help genealogists get organized for 2016. She proposes a weekly set of tasks to help us achieve our goal. Ol’ Myrt explains that “Each week's post will feature options for paper and digitally-oriented genealogists, with an eye to the beginner and intermediate researcher.” If you want to participate in this year-long activity, read more about it at FINALLY Get Organized!

Here’s how I’ve completed the second week’s task.

Task 1. “First, back up your data.”

Myrt explains that “no one wants to experience a hard drive failure”, so, backing up our computer data is an essential step in getting organized. I learned a costly lesson when my hard drive crashed on Christmas Day 2011. I worried that I had lost all my genealogical files, digital photographs, and other data. Hoping that my PC’s information was retrievable, my husband sent the hard drive to an out-of-province data recovery company. A few weeks later, my hard drive with its recovered data was back home. There was very little loss, except for one unimportant file. I don’t ever want to go through that kind of stress or pay for this kind of failure. (It cost me about $1800.) I now back up my files to an external hard drive and to the cloud (Dropbox). But since more is better, I took Ol' Myrt’s advice a couple of days ago and added Backblaze as additional cloud storage.

Task 2. “Decide on a genealogy management program.”

A few years ago, my husband gave me Family Tree Maker 2012 Deluxe as a gift. I already had my ancestral tree at, but decided to use the TreeSync feature of my new program to create a desktop tree. With Ancestry discontinuing support for FTM in less than a year, I’m thinking of getting Legacy Family Tree as my new desktop program.

Task 3. “Starting with yourself, ensure you've entered your personal data and that of the three older generations by that surname in your chosen genealogy management program.”

I completed this task a few years ago when I first created my personal tree at Ancestry.

Task 4. “Set aside a 3-ring binder for your surname.”

In early 2012, I set up four 3-ring binders: one my (maiden) surname (Belair), and the other three for my paternal grandmother’s line (Vanasse), and my maternal grandparents (Desgroseilliers and Beauvais).
Ancestral binders
Ancestral binders

Task 5. “Label oversize tabbed 3-ring dividers and insert in the surname binder.”

Done, but instead of “1st generation”, etc…, I wrote my ancestors’ first names (Maurice, Fred, Pierre, etc…) on the oversized tab dividers.

Task 6. “Print out family group sheets starting with yourself for four generations on your surname.”

Each of my ancestors in this binder had a family group sheet, except for me. I hadn’t created one for myself when I set up this binder in 2012, so I recently prepared one.
Paul Janvry dit Belair family group sheet
Paul Janvry dit Belair Family Group Sheet

Task 7. “Place the 4 family group sheets behind the appropriate generation dividers in your surname binder.”


Task 8. “Scan and file photos and documents relating to each of these four generations in your surname/maiden name binder.”

Done originally in 2012, so I only had to add photos and documents about myself.

Task 9. “As soon as you've scanned them, place all important "must save" photos and documents in top-loading page protectors for those first 3-4 generations in your surname/maiden name binder.”

Also done in 2012.

Task 10. “Create an introduction for those that follow.”

Done originally in 2012.

Task 11. “Add a "genealogy codicil" to your will by making an appointment with your attorney.”

I don’t have a “genealogy codicil”, but I do have a will. Some years ago, I created a “letter of instruction” for my executor. It specifies what I would like done to my personal genealogy files, but since the letter is a bit old and I’ve acquired new material, I need to update it. This task will take some time to complete.

Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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