1: Get Organized   2: Identify a Line   3: Form a Strategy   4: FamilySearch Record Searches (FS)   5: FamilySearch Research Tools (FS)   6: Develop Search Skills   7: Solve Problems   8: Family History Trip   9: FamilySearch Places, Solutions Gallery          SEARCH

Project 4: Discover

Goal 1: Get Organized for Research

  Tracker:   Online  or  Word    |  Translated Videos

Goal 1: Get organized for research. Vault

Taking the time to get well-organized now will save you time later, and it will help you research your ancestor lines efficiently. Here is a good overview of getting organized with your genealogy materials.


A Organize your materials.

  1. Get a research binder and add page dividers in it, by geographic place of research or family surname.
  2. Determine your own sub-categories within the dividers, such as maps, how-to's, information contacts and websites, where to order records, printed forms, brief blog posts and articles, etc.
  3. Read this article for more tips on creating a research binder.

    How a Research Notebook Can Keep You Organized

  4. Watch this Ancestry video for ideas on organizing your genealogy.

    AC: Tips for Organizing Your Family History Records—19:29

  5. Here are tips on using filing systems for genealogy.

    Color-Coded Genealogy Research Filing System
    | My Genealogy Digital File Folder Organization


B Create and use to-do lists to keep on track with your research.

This helps you remember where to begin and how to stay on target with your goals.

  1. Study these videos for tips on writing down research learnings and keeping effective to-do lists.

    AC: Write It Down—27:00
    | AC—Genealogy ToDo Lists—19:57

  2. Decide on small, focused tasks for your to-do list. Make sure your tasks support the goals you are working on.
  3. Use an electronic to-do list (Outlook, iPhone, etc.) or a paper-based list for your to-do list.
  4. To get started with the FamilySearch To-Do List, a) On the www.familysearch.org page, find To-Do List (right side); b) In the "Add an Item" box, type the task you want to keep track of; and c) Click Add.
  5. To mark a FamilySearch To-Do List item as completed, click its check box. To hide or show the item, click Hide or Show. To delete an item, move the pointer to the right-hand edge of the item and click the red "X".

C Keep your records organized as you research.



Research Organization
  1. Use these tips to help you stay organized with your research.

    FS—Organizing Your Files

    AC—Organizing Research Info—19:00

  2. Read these articles for tips on organizing your research and your findings.

    AA—Getting Organized: Tips to Help You
    | FS—Organizing Your Research

  3. Notes and Logs
  4. Read this article for tips on taking effective notes as you do research.

    GC—Taking Notes in Genealogy

  5. Use research logs to track your progress.

    BYU—Research Logs—6:50

    FS—Research Logs—5 pgs.

  6. Here are some tips on writing genealogical reports for your research.

    Writing Genealogical Reports

  7. Store lists of records you are working on in the FamilySearch Source Box (Choice D) or the Ancestry Shoebox (Choice D).

D Keep track of your correspondence with others and write effective request messages.

  1. Read this article for tips on tracking your correspondence with others. See also the Correspondence Record form in Choice E.

    GC—Tracking Your Correspondence

  2. Here are tips for writing to family members and organizations.

    GC—Tips for Writing to Family Members
    | GC—Tips for Writing to Institutions

  3. You can use these form letters and tips when writing to people internationally.

    GC—Form Letters for Requesting Information

  4. Make use of email or text-message folders for electronic correspondence.

E Use pre-printed charts to help you organize your research efforts.

  1. Use free genealogy research forms from Family Search and other resources. Here are some useful categories:
  2. Use free genealogy research charts and forms from Ancestry.
  3. Use free genealogy research forms from Cyndi's List.