Have you ever gone to the grocery store without a list of the items you need? I do it all the time. Unfortunately. I don't know why I do this. It's unorganized and inefficient. As I proceed through the store, I always forget something. Then I have to backtrack to get the thing I wouldn't have forgotten to get if I had just made a list of the things I needed to get in the first place. It's aggravating to say the least. [Unless, of course, I bring my kids with me, in which case I just send them all over the store to get the things I forgot. But then I have to put up with their bickering.]
Anywho. What does this have to do with genealogy? Well, researching without a plan and some organization can be a lot like my grocery shopping failures [Oops. I mean adventures.] A mess. [Especially since I've not recruited my kids to help me with genealogy research. Again. The bickering.]
Furthermore, are you one of those totally organized, anal people whose food pantry shelves look like the grocery store shelves? [Yeah. Me neither.] The one time I did alphabetize all my spices [I like my food spicy.], someone saw it, and looked at me like I had sprouted another head. And then asked, "Did you alphabetize your spices?" Which, if you kind of think about it, was a silly question because obviously I had. And as I frantically rearranged my "ABC" spices, I replied, "No. I don't know how they got that way. Huh. Must've been a freaky coincidence. Or the Spice Fairy must have visited. Yeah, in the middle of the night. Um. Or something." And that was the end of that. [Of course, they probably thought I was crazy. Spice Fairy?]
And now you're wondering what the spice-genealogy connection is, right? While researching [whether online or offline], you need to be able to put your hands on what you need at the precise time you need it. Trust me on this. It happens all the time. There is nothing more frustrating than needing that one death index, that one birth certificate, or that one piece of correspondence to be able to verify that you have the correct person, and not being able to find it.
So, what's it going to take to get organized? Not much. You're just starting out. And it need not be a complicated-pull-out-your-hair-oh-great-now-I'm-bald experience. There will be some decisions to make on which system is best for you. Then, I'll give you my 2 cents worth. [And if you're like my kids, you'll ignore me. And do it your way. *wink*]
As you continue with your research, you'll probably want to change or modify your system. Why? Because the research that you are doing is a living, breathing thing.
That will grow.
That will expand.
Until one day, as you're looking through your research, you realize, "Wow. This is my family story."
So, over the next few posts we'll go through your options, step-by-step. I'm curious, though [which has served me well in researching]. Based on the research you've done so far [if any], how are you organizing your research? Are you happy with it? If you haven't started, how do you think you'll need to organize yourself? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Wow. Now I'm hungry. Let's see. Where did I put those spicy snacks?]