Organizing my office in 2015

I have decided to get my office decluttered and organized in 2015. To help accomplish this, I am reading through a wonderful blog by Janine Adams called Organize Your Family History.

Also I had to share this Geneapalooza cartoon to celebrate my New Year’s resolution!

From - used by permission

From – used by permission

My main plan is to scan all the documents and photos that are waiting in piles. Then I will file them on my computer in the folder with their family name. Finally I will upload them to the appropriate ancestors in my trees on, GENI, and WIKItree, all of which sites have the capability to store source images separately from photographs of people.

So I made a picture of the full horror of my office today. I plan a new picture at the end of February or March.

My Office 9 Jan 2015

Even my dog Navajo is dubious about my plan

What you cannot see are the two small file cabinets, 6 drawers, one for Munson, one for Thannhauser, and another for general genealogy. The rest are for my web business and bridge.

My basic organization is that I have a folder on my PC called genealogy which has a folder for each of my main family lines and then there are folders within those folders for ancestral or side families and other items. For example, the folder Monsen includes subfolders called fromDick (my second cousin and the main researcher for this line), Graff, Guttormsen, Huseby, and LibraryExtras.

When I scan a document, I name it for the main person involved, the year and then what it is. So for example, MarenWold1910census or AnnaLee1884BirthCertificate. Then I file it and upload it.

I hope to have a new picture of my office soon!


10 thoughts on “Organizing my office in 2015

Click here to add your thoughts at the end of the comments
  1. Kitty, best of luck with your organizing. Your plan sounds good to me! My big piece of advice is to work on it small, frequent bites. Don’t wait until you have a free weekend and think that you’ll spend two solid days on it. In my opinion, an hour a day for a week is better than spending a day on it once a week. (It’s more realistic.)

    Good for you for posting a before picture. I know that can be scary (I do it myself), but it’s great for accountability. If there are any questions you think I can answer on my blog, feel free to ask them!

  2. I started with a similar resolve three years ago. It has been very slow but I have managed to whittle it down to about what you have now. 30 plus years of paper is just appalling. All that I have scanned is in a permanent folder on my computer which is backed up on three different external hard drives. One is in the bank, one is out of town, one is in my house and it is also saved to the cloud. I also have sent CD’s of information to relevant descendants. I quite trying to wait until I finish.

    At this time of year, I also try to double check all my back up systems, my genealogical estate, my passwords, etc. My resolution was to spend an hour every day on the remaining stack.

    If I gave up reading blogs, I would have time for all this. But I much prefer to read blogs.

  3. I went through this two years ago, but that was based on replacing furniture. I had managed four years years with odds and ends that I had before we moved and I decided that it was time to replace that with things that fit my needs.

    I did some scanning, but mostly manage with piles – which now have labels on them. One day I’ll deal with those too.

  4. Thanks for all the encouragement gang!

    Janine, small frequent bites sound great. June thanks for the reminder about backup and Israel I love that you label your piles! Perhaps a good interim solution for me too.

  5. I have sent in and had analyzed the DNA of my 92 year old mother to 23andme. Everything on my DNA analysis that is from her is marked ‘M’. everything else is called ‘other than maternal’ Am I to presume that everything else is from my paternal side? My sister and 2 first male cousins (one on my maternal side and one on my paternal side) are also being analyzed as well as my husband and two sons but those results are not in yet. I hope that without the DNA of my father who died 20 years ago, I can infer something from the 1st cousins’ information but will need help to make that happen. We have family members who have entered data on Ancestry and one who uses Family Tree Maker. Think that I should follow in line even though it seems that other programs do a better job of organizing and/or printing charts (Legacy, etc.). Where should I begin? Into which program should everything be loaded first? A spreadsheet? Ancestry? Family Tree Maker? A GEDcom program (I am unfamiliar with what to do here)? Then, what’s next in sequence. I have a lot of information and have found many matches so far so I have the opportunity to start out RIGHT and want to take the best course. You’re a pro so I will follow your guidance. Thank you!

  6. Mary –
    Such good questions. I think I will do a whole blog post to answer them. My short answers:

    Everything not marked M is either paternal or matching by chance (see Warning when you have a match with both Dad and Mom’s ancestors it will be listed as M

    The DNA data is best organized in spreadsheets, there are several articles on that here, see

    Use whatever genealogy software you prefer but use WIKItree (you can upload a GEDcom there) to show the DNA with the family tree, Warning, it is a “One world tree” so you are collaborating with others but the privacy controls are great and the showing of related DNA is excellent. Plus you can regularly download your gedcom …


  7. I noticed that you have Husebys in your family tree. I am writing the History of the Huseby family from Leikanger, but am interested in connecting with any of the several Huseby branches in the US. Please let me know if you are interested in connecting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.