•    •  Physical Files
Organising Your Research | Physical Files

When you start off investigating family history, you’ll find that information can build up quickly.  If you are planning on keeping your material in physical files, think about the space that you’re working in and what best fits for you.  Options for storage include:

> Filing Cabinets with hanging folders

> Ring-binders

> Box files

Once you’ve decided on what physical setup works best given your available space and budget you then need to consider how you will keep track of your information. Some commonly used systems that family history researchers use include:


By Surname – all documents belonging to a particular surname are filed together.


By Event – For example, all birth certificates are kept in the same place.


By Family Line – All information relating to a family line is filed together. A popular and simple system using this approach has been devised by American-based genealogist Mary E. V. Hill.

This classic system uses colour-coding to differentiate family lines, one for each grandparent and their ancestral lines:

Blue – paternal grandfather (father’s father)

Green – paternal grandmother (father’s mother)

Red – maternal grandfather (mother’s father)

Yellow – maternal grandmother (mother’s mother)

Instructions for setting up a colour-coded record-keeping system can be found on Mary E. V. Hill’s website.