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I Create a System

More and more often I find myself searching my DNA matches for clues to my brick wall ancestors. I run cluster reports and try to construct family trees for my matches, hoping to find a familiar surname. I jot down information as I run across it, but these stacks of notes and trees were getting out of control. I needed a new system.

This week I worked on the record-keeping problem.

First, I found some space in a file cabinet drawer. I know, I know, I am a Luddite who likes to work with paper files. For me an electronic file is a file lost. The file cabinet works best for me.

I began by creating folders for DNA related information:

  1. I have attended numerous presentations and webinars on DNA research. I gathered the notes from these in a folder.
  2. I have run several auto cluster reports for my Dad. I put them all in a folder.
  3. The testing companies periodically update our ethnicity reports, and I print out this helpful information. Monitoring these has already assisted in identifying one unknown ancestor. For example, when the companies began separating English and Irish ancestry, I realized my mystery great-grandfather must have been Irish. Ethnicity reports went into another folder.
  4. I made folders for printouts of match lists from each of the companies we have used for DNA testing.

In the cabinet behind these folders, I placed alphabetical dividers. As I work on a particular match, I can alphabetically file the notes and trees for that person.

Organizing my work this way accomplishes two things:

  1. I can retrieve information with ease.
  2. I have less office clutter with everything in neat files.

As work evolves, so must organizational systems. My DNA research was overdue for a re-do. I should have done it a long time ago.

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