During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

What is the best way to organize your information? By individual, by timeline, by family (meaning generational families)? Is there a book or do you have any advice on getting and staying organized? Too many copies of records and too many photos.


There are several ways to organize your genealogical research. First you need to ask yourself, "How will I look for ...." and determine how easily you will be able to retrieve the item and/or person you want. Most people may file by basic family line. For example, Linn/Lynn Family or Woodroe/Woodrow Family.

I color coded the four basic family surnames. For example, my husband's paternal line is green; his maternal line is blue; my paternal line is yellow; and my maternal line is orange. I first used notebooks and later switched to file folders (still color coded). Both of my filing systems were done by dividing families by each director ancestor.

Remember, the best organizational system is what makes retrieving documents and family information the easiest.


The Genealogy Center has several books about organizing your genealogical research. To locate them in our online catalog, type in "organizing genealogical records." Listed below are a few titles:

The Organized Family Historian: How to File, Manage, and Protect Your Genealogical Research and Heirlooms by Anne Fleming (929 F629OR)

Beyond Pedigrees: Organizing and Enhancing Your Work by Beverly DeLong Whitaker (929 W58B)

Organizing Your Family History Search: Efficient and Effective Ways to Gather and Protect Your Genealogical Research by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack (929 C195GA)

Let's Get Organized!: A Practical Guide for All Aspects of Family History Research by Penelope Christensen (929 T214PR)