This is the sixth and final post of my Family History Binder series. Click here to go back to part one.
In each section of my binder, I placed copies of every document I had about each individual in chronological order. If a document referred to multiple ancestors, I printed a separate copy for each of them. I didn’t use any original documents, but I still wanted to make the copies last as long as possible so I used Avery sheet protectors that are archival quality. Here are some of the types of documents I included:
- Birth/death/marriage certificates
- City directories
- Military draft records
- Yearbook pages
- Land records
- Cemetery records
Most of my sources were obtained on Ancestry.com and Familysearch.org. For any online documents, I printed the image of the document and then also printed the transcription page from the website with the source information. I placed the transcription page behind each document in the same sheet protector.
I wanted to be able to easily find the individual’s name in each document, so I highlighted the corresponding line in the document with a yellow highlighter. This is especially helpful in census records or city directories that contain many names. Before highlighting, I made sure I let the ink dry for at least 30 minutes or else the ink smeared.
I don’t personally have any original documents for this line of the family, but I was able to obtain quite a few copies just from asking relatives. My in-laws have a cardboard box of various family records that I was able to borrow and scan into my computer using an Epson WorkForce Scanner. I love how quickly I was able to scan stacks of documents while still having high resolutions for photos.
Facebook also proved quite helpful in obtaining records and photos. I received a few items by simply asking our Reynolds Family Facebook group. I also came across the Buffum Family Association group (my husband’s great-grandmother was a Buffum) and asked if anyone had information about our particular line. The next day I was sent over a dozen old photos of ancestors, most of which I had never seen pictures of before.
As my research has continued, I have already found several new sources that I will add to my binder. I hope to make similar binders for all of my other family lines and will post updates here on my blog as my work progresses, along with other research tips.
This is the fifth post in my Family History Binder series. Click here to go back to part 1.
The first page of each ancestor section contains a timeline of the person’s life along with a map showing the locations they lived. I put this sheet inside the Avery Clear Pocket Label Dividers for each individual.
I use Family Tree Maker (FTM) to keep track of my research. As I input each fact into FTM, they are automatically put in chronological order. I then opened a spreadsheet and with the two programs side-by-side I was able to quickly type the information to create a timeline.
I also used Family Tree Maker to create the map. After clicking on the “places” tab (#1 in image below), I then changed the dropdown “list by” menu on the left to “person” (#2) and then selected the individual from the list (#3).
On the right side, I then checked the boxes (#4) next to the facts that I wanted to include in my map. This will only work if your locations are in the correct format. Then I zoomed (#5) so that the route was centered on the screen. You can then use the snipping tool on your computer to copy the map on the screen, but I found that clicking the “print” button (#6) and then printing as a pdf resulted in a cleaner look.
One of my individuals moved a few times in Kansas and then moved to Arizona and lived in a few different locations there. To show more detail, I decided to split it into two separate maps and used both.
Once I had my maps, all I did was copy and paste them to the bottom of my timeline spreadsheet.
On the back of my timeline, I inserted a family group sheet. This gives me a list of all of the children of the individual. I again used Family Tree Maker to create mine, but here are a couple other options as well:
Blank Family Group Record
Blank Family Group Record with LDS Ordinances
Click here to go on to the next section about how I arranged the documents and sources for each individual.
This is the fourth post in my Family History Binder series. Click here to go back to part 1.
The first divider in my family history binder is labeled “maps, photos, etc”. I had originally planned on putting this section last in my binder, but I found that this was the section that people were most interested in looking at and I didn’t want to make them flip past the 200 pages of documents every time.
The maps I included were ones that didn’t necessarily pertain to a specific individual but would still be interesting to have. Here are a couple examples:
1880 Colden, New York: founded by an ancestor and home to a few generations of his descendents
1878 Winfield, Kansas: home to 3 generations of ancestors
My photo section includes copies of every photo I have of the 15 ancestors in my pedigree chart (see Part 3). I purchased Ultra Pro 5X7 Photo Pages to organize them before discovering that it is actually fairly expensive to have 5x7s printed. I could have used 4×6 but decided instead to have 5x7s printed on glossy cardstock at Staples. I put 2 on each page and then cut them out with my Fiskars Paper Trimmer.
What I love about the Ultra Pro 5X7 Photo Pages is the extra slot next to each photo where you can put a caption.
In my captions, I also included the number of each individual (refer to Part 3 to see my numbering system). My reason for not placing the photos of the individual in their specific section of the binder is that I would need to make multiple copies of many family portraits (the top photo shown here would need to be printed for Carl, Ada, and Aaron’s sections).
I added “etc” to my divider tab so that I can add other types documents in the future if I find that they don’t fit anywhere else, like a family crest or DNA data.
Click here to go to part 5 of the Family History Binder series.
This is the third post in my Family History Binder series. Click here to go back to part 1.
My family history binder is broken into 16 sections. The dividers I used are the Avery Clear Pocket Label Dividers 8-Tab Set, so I used 2 sets of them.
The first page of my family history binder is my 4 generation pedigree chart. This also serves as an outline for my binder.
If your tree is on familysearch, all you need to do is go to the person page for the individual you want your chart to begin with, and then click on “pedigree” under the “print” heading on the right side.
If you want to fill out the chart yourself, here are a couple links to blank pedigree charts. It is very important that you use one that has numbers next to each individual.
Once you have your numbered 4 generation pedigree chart, label 15 of your dividers with those 15 individuals. Make sure to include the number on the tab as well.
The 16th tab I labeled “maps, photos, etc”. This is a place for things that don’t belong to a specific individual. I originally planned to put this section last in my binder, but I found that everyone was usually more interested in looking through the pictures than the documents so it made more sense to put them at the beginning. My next post is specifically about this section and can be found here.
This is the second post in my Family History Binder series. Click here to go back to part 1.
Here are the materials I used to create my family history binder:
Avery 3-Inch Extra-Wide Binder – If you don’t have much info about that family, you can use a smaller binder. It is very important that it is extra wide though, otherwise your tabs will stick out past the edge of the binder.
Avery Clear Pocket Label Dividers 8-Tab Set – These are basically thick page protectors with tabs on the side. They came with printable label stickers for the tabs but I found that those just peeled right off. Instead I printed my labels on cardstock and carefully cut and inserted them into the tabs. I got 2 sets of them so I would have a total of 16 dividers.
Avery Clear Sheet Protectors Box of 200 – The amount you’ll need depends on how much info you have for your book. I bought a pack of 200 and used about 180 of them.
Ultra Pro 5X7 Photo Pages – These pages each hold 4 5×7 photos and also have small slots next to each pocket to add captions. I used about 15 pages for this binder.
Paper and ink – I used normal printer paper and my inkjet printer. Make sure you change your printer settings to grayscale for all of your documents. If you are more organized, you could instead have it printed somewhere like Staples.
Click here to see the next section, Part 3 – Dividers
For Christmas 2016, I put together a family history binder for my father-in-law. I began at the beginning of September with the intention of including both his paternal and maternal lines, but with a baby taking up most of my time I was only able to complete the Reynolds side. This book contains information about his father (my husband’s grandfather) and 3 generations back from there, so 15 direct ancestors total. Eventually I would love to be able to create them for all of our family lines.
When I finally finished it on December 23rd, I decided to post a few pictures of the final product in a Facebook group called “The Organized Genealogist”. Within a few hours my post had over 2000 likes and close to 500 comments consisting of hundreds of questions and requests for tutorials. So here is my tutorial that will hopefully answer all of your questions and help you create a similar book for your family.
It took me a while to get through everything since I could only work during my son’s naptimes, so I divided it up into multiple posts that can be found here:
Part 2 – Materials
Part 3 – Dividers
Part 4 – Photos
Part 5 – Timelines and Maps
Part 6 – Documents