Declutter that genealogy file

Spring is the time when we begin to declutter our houses, wash the windows, prepare for summer.

Genealogy shouldn’t be much different.  As we work on paperwork, we need to decide: File, Toss, Giveaway.  Some are easy. A marriage certificate for my 3rd great grandparents gets first scanned, then filed.  A census index I photocopied in 1991 that has been abstracted for every member of that surname (and the census enumeration found) can be tossed.

But what about give away? Is there any documents I might want to give away?  Well, no because I scan them and send them to cousins researching the same line, so I can’t think of a document I would snail mail, but what about those other genealogy related clutterers?  The magazines I have read, reread, reread again?  Would my local library want them?  What about the books I bought, but my family wasn’t in?  Would the archives of that state want them?

Just because I am currently working on 187 of my favorite ancestors, doesn’t mean I have room for every document they created. In fact, if it weren’t for the computer, I wouldn’t have room enough for 5 of them.  By scanning documents I can get rid of a lot of fluff from my home office.

Things I keep:

Photocopies of marriages, wills, deeds of direct ancestors

Photographs of ancestors and my children

Printed family histories of my family (especially if you send me a free copy. HINT HINT)

Things I toss:

Census enumerations. (available in digital form now)

Photocopies from printed family histories. Once they are sourced, toss ’em.

Photocopies on lines that aren’t my family-who has the room

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