Genealogy Organization

by JL Beeken on 7-28-2008

The subject of genealogy organization never ends.

Since I’m in another tidying up phase I decided to have another look at the old survey.  One of the outstanding comments there is in answer to the question: “What other content would be useful to you?”

“How to know when to stop re-organizing when you have a system set up, a curse of a Virgo.”

Let me see. First of all, there’s no hope for Virgos because there just isn’t. I know because I am one. What kept stirring my pot with a stick is that I kept changing ideas about output. But I’m done now. Honest to god, finished. I’ve gone to WikiWorld and I’m not coming back.

Seriously, I’ve come to the absolute and final conclusion that linear organization is doomed. Doomed. We build houses with 2 x 4′s and then we live in them. Our minds are up the wrong tree. Make a wiki the hub and everything else spins in circles around it. Like the solar system. Infinite.

I think I said this before – when you’re thinking about organizing, it helps to think backwards. If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you know how to get there?

Back in August a year ago I wrote a post about how I organized a family tree folder system that would work for a Passage Express project. I even finished the project. It’s too much work to update so it’s been abandoned. This is better adapted to JLiki. Except I’m not using the indented tree structure, just the folders straight through in alphabetical order as the ordering is all done through the wiki.

Now, if you’re talking about organization in Legacy, that’s a whole other question. The mailing list is full of people who have contradictory ideas about data entry. This is now further complicated by the new Source Writer and Mapping features in Legacy 7. I’m listening but I haven’t changed a single thing yet and may never.

I’m still using the MRIN Filing System and keeping all documents in my single Source Library.

OK, here’s the official answer. Especially if you’re a Virgo. If you have a system that works, don’t move a muscle ever again. Just consider the rest of us a bunch of idiots who don’t know what we’re talking about. There’s no one right way and if you keep looking for it you’ll spend the rest of your life changing gears and at the end you’ll still think you could do it better.

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