Decrapifying the office

24 October 2015

Truth be told, I have now been doing genealogy/family history/call-it-what-you-will for nearly two decades. Shocking, I know! Most people who decide to dig into their history do so when they are retired. Thankfully, I started my quest much earlier. How pleased am I to be able to say that….?!

The problem I have now though is that, when I first started research, family history and the internet had not met on a formal basis. So, in order to trace my ancestry, I travelled to many and various record offices across the nation and printed off A3 copies of census records which took many hours of laborious research to locate. Seriously, for one of my families in 1851, I spent THREE HOURS manually trawling through the microfilm, page by page, until I found them! Why the heck did I bother?! I can now find them in about three seconds on Ancestry/FindMyPast etc.!

My initial filing system for family documents was one (physical) file for each of my eight great-grandparent’s surnames. However, this soon became unmanageable and extra files were born when needed. I now have about eighteen or twenty files which range from A4 ring binders to A3 lever arch files and they are pretty unwieldy in terms of physical filing. That, coupled with folders on my laptop (numerous and some not very organised over the various transfers from one PC to another, memory sticks etc.), my family history filing needs some serious attention.

I have also discovered that over the last two decades, I have attended a fair few events – conferences, family history fairs, local meetings and more – accumulating handouts, leaflets, brochures etc. How on earth do I store/file these items? Do I even need to? Many family historians are hoarders to a greater or lesser extent and this weekend is decrapifying weekend for me. The filing system is in place – now is the time to execute the plan. No more mess. It’s D-Day – Decrapifying Day!

I’ll report back tomorrow on how successful it is…. Watch this space.

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