Organizing Your Family History by Cheryle Hoover Davis

How many times have you set about to write your family history, only to run across the daunting task of putting it all together in a manner which will make sense?

Many people give up writing their family history at this point. Too much information! So much to write about! If you are like me, you've spent years researching your ancestors only to find piles of papers, notes, and website URLs piling up on your desktop.

The key to writing your family history is to GET ORGANIZED, but take it one small step at a time!

We've all seen articles on how to organize your clutter and make our homes neat and pleasing. This knowledge can be applied to genealogy research, and writing your history, also!

One interesting thing I have noticed is that most experts on home organization emphasize 'one step at a time.' If you choose to do it all at once, you've set yourself up for failure before you've even begun. Giving yourself permission to do just a little at a time will make the task so much easier.

I know when I began cleaning out the clutter of closets, kitchen cabinets and 'junk drawers' I began to feel overwhelmed. I was making a bigger mess and never getting it all finished. What a self deafeating experience! Another side effect was not knowing where anything was after I'd made such a mess.

Being a clutter-junkie was something I inherited from my mother, the difference being, she always seemed to have it all organized and easily accessible. In my case, I am disorganizationally organized. I know where that note about Uncle Harry is in that pile of papers on my desktop, thank you very much. I remember where I put that scrap of paper with Auntie Dorothy's phone number from 1982 on it. My mother laughed too, so go ahead - laugh out loud!

If you are a 'neatnik', ignore this article. If you are a 'clutter junkie', read on!

One day, while working on a family history project, I was feeling quite overwhelmed at all the information I had and was able to produce no clearly written story. My mother's voice came back to haunt me: "You need to get organized...you need to get organized...you need to get organized."

Ok, alright, Mother, I hear you! But, HOW?

Remember your mother telling you: "Everything has a place...blah blah blah"? Well, it's true (don't tell my mother I said that - I'll never live it down).

It's not easy for us clutter junkies, however. I decided I would take it...one small step at a time. First, I cleaned off my desktop. I just threw everything in a couple boxes. There. Done. Finished. Finis.

Well, that was so easy, I decided to take the next step. Sorting out one box. I had file folders, so I placed each surname in a separate folder. Easy enough. It was all going well.

The next step was soon to follow, as the last had been so easy. Before I knew it, it was all organized, the information easily found, and I was ready to begin writing!

The next step was actually writing my family history.

I'll take it...one step at a time.

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