• Step Six ~ Storing Your New Found Information

    As soon as you start researching your family you will begin to amass a large amount of information and notes, certificates and other family documents, together with prints of census images, civil registration and parish register entries, and other information which you have found.

    It’s a good idea fairly early on to decide how you are going to organise and store it all, otherwise you can quite easily end up with an unmanageable paper mountain.

    Many researchers store all of their paperwork in ring binders, using a different one for each family. This can then be divided up into separate sections for the different types of information you have gathered. You may decide to store items in plastic wallets within the binder, however make sure that these are acid free otherwise they will damage items over time. You can buy special certificate binders with acid free sleeves online from companies such as:

    By using a software package your information is held in a manageable and easy to access format. At the click of your computer mouse you can view all of the details you hold on a given person in your tree and clearly see their relationships within it. Many packages have excellent graphics enabling you to create professional looking family tree diagrams.

    There are numerous family tree software packages available to buy at varying prices. Some are even available as a free download:

    You may wish to scan your family photos, these images can then be held in a file on your computer. Some software packages allow you to link these photographs to individuals in your tree.

    All of the information which you have input into your family tree software is stored as a file on your hard drive of your computer. This file can then be uploaded and stored online on sites such as:

    Unfortunately if your hard drive was to fail, as they eventually do, all of your information held in its files will be lost. It is therefore advisable to regularly back up to disc and keep this in a safe place.

    Most family researchers use a combination of both computer and paper based storage. Whatever system you decide to use is entirely up to you, however make sure that it’s both safe and secure otherwise all of your hard work will be lost.