We live in a world of color. In fact, we live in a world of consistent color. The sky is blue, almost all the time. The grass is green, most of the time. In other words, we know what to expect when we look outdoors.
What if those same principles were applied to genealogy? What if when you saw the color green, you knew that was always your Father’s Mother’s records and relatives. Or yellow always meant your Mother’s Mother’s information.
I’m a huge fan of color coding. It makes sense to my brain. So when I saw Mary Hill explain her system of color coding during a Legacy Family Tree webinar in 2011, my brain said, “Eureka!”
However at that point in my genealogy research, I had only worked on my Mother’s Father’s information, i.e., my maternal grandfather. According to the color coding system, that meant red. What was the point of color coding all my records and information red? Ah, if only I had started then, I wouldn’t have the giant task in front of me I now have.
Let’s back up a little bit. My first exposure to Mary Hill was while watching “Ancestors” on BYUtv. She was interviewed at The Family History Library in Salt Lake and was such a positive, inspiring person. I hoped if I ever had the chance to visit there, I’d get her!
When I registered for her webinar I didn’t realize it was her, but once she started talking I recognized her. So I was already liking whatever she had to say!
Anyhow, here’s the gist of it: Get four big boxes. Round up all your genealogy stuff in one place or room. Find your latest pedigree chart. And start dividing it up by your grandparents. Or make it real simple and use Legacy Family Tree’s software, which allows you to apply this color coding to your family tree. That way you can see in a glance which information goes where.
Take all the information related to your Father’s Father, and put that in one box. Then take all the stuff related to your Father’s Mother, and put that in another box. Do the same for your Mother’s Father, and your Mother’s Mother. Included in this sorting is all their ancestors information as well.
When you have your family tree separated into four different boxes, you begin filing everything by color. Here’s the color coding mentioned above:
You can use hanging file folders or notebooks to complete your family tree organization.
Others have described this far better! For more information about this system of organizing, check out these links.
- Family Roots Organizer website
- Get Organized Using the FamilyRoots Organizer Color-Coding System webinar
- Family Roots Organizer System webinar
- Family Roots Organizer Webinar handout