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Paper, paper, everywhere! How shall I file it?

Paper, paper, everywhere! How shall I file it?

Posted: 17 Nov 2011 6:17PM GMT
Classification: Query
It's great that I can scan all these old documents and pictures, especially since some of them are on acid paper and may not be around very long. Nonetheless, I want to have paper files of all my data. The question is: How should I organize all this stuff?!?

A)File folders or binders?
A1)I was thinking file folders, since it will be easier to add things in, plus I won't have to worry about "sagging". Thoughts?
B)I have differently sized documents, and I would like to stay with one file size as much as possible.
B1) If I want one size of file folder, that means using at least a legal length folder for everything, even though most of my documents are letter-sized. I don't have a problem with this, but is there a downside to this that I haven't thought of?
B1a) But sheet protectors won't fit entirely into legal- or letter-sized file folders, and I have some original documents that I not only want to protect, but also some that are acid (and I would like to protect the adjoining documents from them!). While the documents would not sit above the tab, they would be above the top of the front of the file folder. Should I worry about this?

Someone out there has experience with this. Will you give me the benefit of your advice?


Re: Paper, paper, everywhere! How shall I file it?

Posted: 16 Feb 2012 8:39PM GMT
Classification: Query
I'm not sure what I have to offer is correct or practical. But I keep my 'important' papers in 3-hole binders and use the archival safe clear sheet protectors. The papers that are of legal size do stick up above the binder but as long as my binders are in tall shelves, it's no problem. I keep the scanned copies of those longer papers with the originals and do bend those over to fit the sheet protectors. Some of my less important papers I have in a file cabinet in file folders. I go through those once in a while & eventually decide I don't need them, and they get tossed. Of course there are researchers out there who think we don't need any paper at all. But, we all have original documents and papers that need to be kept.

Good luck with whatever you end up doing!

Re: Paper, paper, everywhere! How shall I file it?

Posted: 10 Sep 2013 2:13PM GMT
Classification: Query
Any paper copies I have are kept in sheet protectors in a binder. My binders are set up with surname and under surname I have a divider for each person - direct line only. Any others go at the back of the surname under 'Not direct line'. I scan everything since I do all my work on computer.

Re: Paper, paper, everywhere! How shall I file it?

Posted: 10 Sep 2013 9:32PM GMT
Classification: Query
Having started my genealogy research over 30 years ago, I've accumulated way too much to spend the rest of my life scanning documents. If I were starting today, that's what I would do (scan). Whoever ends up with my accumulation of genealogy work will have to deal with it as it is, in paper format. But, I suspect it will end up in someone's shredder at some point or at the dump!

Re: Paper, paper, everywhere! How shall I file it?

Posted: 10 Sep 2013 9:52PM GMT
Classification: Query
I know how you feel. I have no doubt that when I'm gone, my DIL will throw everything away. The only way I save any pictures was to scan them and then send them over to my daughter!

Re: Paper, paper, everywhere! How shall I file it?

Posted: 3 Feb 2014 9:00AM GMT
Classification: Query
My choice is chaos. I started decades ago on notebooks, quarto pages and foolscap. Certificates from overeas were wrong shape and size for standard sheet protectors here so they got folded or put into envelopes.
I am not into acid free etc simply because I know the paper stack will go in the bin when I am gone. My kids will be happier to have it in digital form for their homes do not have room for my stuff.
I have their childhood memoroabilia stash here and decided to digitize everything and pleased I did for 2008 gave me reality check when 1: 200yr flood hit here. I discovered those vacuum seal bags are NOT flood proof for all of those that were on the floor sucked in the water happily.
So my advise to you is to consider why you are keeping everything, how long you intend to keep it and if anyone is going to be willing to have it when you die.
Digital records deteriorate too, storage units are affected by weather and age and outmoded by latest and greatest new storage method.
Back up your digital records and send them to family near and far as just that- back up security.
original document you do same as everything else at the end of the day. Keep them in storage affordable to you. Acid free, lineen free etc is expensive and not necessarily going to last any longer. Environmental factors and circumstances will always determine what lasts and what perishes.
Have fun on your journey and just do what feels right to you for you.

Re: Paper, paper, everywhere! How shall I file it?

Posted: 20 Feb 2014 6:05PM GMT
Classification: Query
When I started researching, I used a binder for copies only, mainly b/c it was portable and I could add or take out stuff. For ALL my originals I keep them in file folders in a filing cabinet. Extra large things are all kept together laying flat in an archival box etc. with a paper copy in the file that it should be in stating where the oversized original can be found (kinda like the oversized book shelf at the library).
Luckily, I got into digital early on and haven't looked back. I still have all the original papers and photos that we inherited, but I haven't added to it like I could have and rarely generate a hard copy of anything.
For those of you that are worried that all your research will be shredded when you pass, maybe consider donating it to the Historical Societies in the areas where your families resided. That way others that come along later can find it and use it. jmho.

Re: Paper, paper, everywhere! How shall I file it?

Posted: 27 Feb 2014 10:33PM GMT
Classification: Query
Re: submitting research work to historical socieites. So many historical societies are struggling financially. Some are funded by the counties which are also struggling and societies are not high on their list to provide funds. I often wonder what happens to the items housed in those entities when they close down.

Re: Paper, paper, everywhere! How shall I file it?

Posted: 28 Feb 2014 6:59PM GMT
Classification: Query
I know what you mean about historical societies struggling financially.
I read somewhere (can't remember where) that said if you donate your research to make sure it's in usable order so they don't have to spend time and money organizing it. Another thing they suggested is to also donate some monies to help maintain the society and the collection(s). Just something to consider.
I know some places where the local public library may have a genealogy section, not sure what is housed in those collections, but another thing to consider.
Bear in mind, I'm just throwing out suggestions as an alternative to the research being tossed in the trash. I don't know if what works in one community or library or historical society will work in others; it all depends.

Re: Paper, paper, everywhere! How shall I file it?

Posted: 28 Feb 2014 7:32PM GMT
Classification: Query
Donating to libraries with genealogy sections may not always work, too. They don't always have the space for an individual's family research materials, unless the materials include someone in the region who might be well-known. Of course there's always the LDS Family History library which would eventually photocopy some of the material and I guess store it in their vault. I'm located in California and know that the Native Daughters of the Golden West society sometimes has buildings in towns and cities, and they might welcome family materials, though I doubt if they'd have room for the amount of materials many of us accumulate over 30+ years! State historical societies may want some materials pertaining to persons of interest. I guess this will always be a problem for us genealogists!
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