Researching your family history can be an overwhelming project. Organization is the key to keeping your discoveries on track and preserving your heritage. I created a family history binder years ago, and it has been a valuable tool as I research my ancestry.
Start by choosing a binder that is both practical and beautiful. The binder will hold your family story, so you do not want a boring notebook that will get lost on your desk. I love this floral binder. You will also need plenty of tabs, pockets, and sticky notes to keep the binder organized.
These pocket tabs serve two purposes. They will divide your binder into categories, and the pockets can keep smaller items, such as photographs, secure. Two packages will probably be sufficient to get started on your family history project.
Try out these little notes for providing quick reminders. I use them when I need to remind myself that I need to do more research on a certain person, or to write down a question that I need to ask. For example, if I realize I do not have the date of my grandparents’ wedding, I stick a note on their page to remind me that I need to ask my mother.
You will also need some colorful zipper pockets to keep your items such as pens, flash drives, memory cards, sticky note pads, etc. These fun zipper pockets are perfect for storing any items that do not fit in the flat pocket dividers.
Once you have your supplies, begin organizing your pocket tabs. Here are some categories you may want to consider for each tab:
Interview notes and questions
Primary sources (copies of marriage certificates, census records, etc.)
Your family history binder can be an ongoing project that you share with the rest of your family. Even if you think you do not have time to take on such a huge project, having this binder will allow you to work a little bit at a time, while keeping track of what you know and what you still need to discover. I enjoy being able to grab my binder and know exactly where to find or place information about my family. I also love knowing that I can pass the binder on to anyone in my family, and they will be able to pick up where I left off. Before I started this project, my family had no unified record of our history. Now, we have an organized and easy to understand record of our heritage. It is truly a family treasure.