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Organize in a system that suits your needs but in which you can quickly and easily find information when you want it.
Set up proof files. These contain your original documents and never travel with you.
Portable files are copies of your original documents and your family group sheets, notes, pedigree charts, chronological profiles, etc. Take them along on research trips.
The Pedigree Chart is the road map of you and your ancestors. It begins with you and fans out with your paternal line on the upper half and your maternal line on the lower half.
A timeline or chronological profile begins with your ancestor's birth and is filled in with various occurrences in his/her life.
The Research Log is very important for the time when you share your data or decide to publish your work. You will need to know your sources for obtaining each piece of information.
Use a Correspondence Log. This includes the names and addresses of the people you have written to, what you requested, the date the request was sent, and the outcome of the request.
Many people use a file folder system set up couple by couple. Others use a document type file folder organization, with all birth records in one file, etc. Do what makes most sense to you.
Keeping your data in an electronic genealogy program allows you to organize and analyze information easily. Changes may be made quickly. Citations to sources of information may be linked to each piece of information. Photos and documents may be scanned and linked.
The Family Group Sheet identifies a couple and their children. Everyone has two group sheets, one as a child with parents and one as a parent with children.