British Family History

A Guide to Getting Started in Genealogy

Organising your Research

It is important to keep a record of all reference books, searches, sources (census returns, directories, etc) and any other items you may use to find out about your ancestors. Too many people don't consider documentation to be important, but if you have found something in a book for example, have noted down what you found without referencing the book, and then want to go back to it five years later, how will you know where you found that piece of information from?

Never underestimate the importance of organisation. People who have access to a computer tend to use genealogy software to organise their research, others like to organise their research into folders.

Using Genealogy Software to Organise your Research

RootsMagic Box - from RootsMagic.co.ukMany genealogists now use software to organise their research and to create family trees. RootsMagic is the easiest to use genealogy software available, and it is also one of the most powerful. One review said:

"After reviewing popular family history software, which included Family Historian, Family Tree Maker, Legacy, and Heredis, the one that came out on top, scoring higher in the categories than the others, was RootsMagic Platinum Edition. This programme is ideal for novices. It boasts great book reports and allows you to upload pictures in narrative reports. The latest edition comes with seven free data CDs. RootsMagic has one of the most user-friendly interfaces and comes with a clear, concise instruction manual."

- Review by The Guardian (review from GenealogyReviews.co.uk.)

You can view all the features of this program and more information at RootsMagic.co.uk. It also compares the program to other genealogy software programs.

Using Binders to organise your Research

Through your research, you will end up with many loose pieces of paper - these will mainly be certificates and documents. To ensure that your collections of certificates and research documents are preserved in pristine condition, they should be kept in specialist binders with inert archival sleeves.

The standard binders available from stationary shops can suffer from leaching of plasticiser from PVC sleeves. This will lift print off pages and ruin them. S&N Genealogy Supplies is the only genealogy company I have found that offer well-priced A4 (portrait) & A3 (landscape) binders, and Long Certificate binders with sleeves that will not lift the print from all your important research documents.

Their website has the following descriptions for each binder:

Padded A4 & A3 binders with inert memorabilia sleeves - These decorative binders have 'Family History' in gold lettering on the cover and spine. They are available in matching burgundy, dark blue, dark green and black padded leather grain style finish. Each binder comes with four sleeves, and additional sleeves can be ordered.

Certificate binder with archival quality sleeves - These decorative binders have 'Certificates' in gold lettering on the cover and spine. They are available in burgundy, dark blue, dark green and black padded leather grain style finish. Each binder comes with four archival sleeves, and can take both long certificates and A4 certificates from records offices.

You can view their selection of binder at their website, GenealogySupplies.com.