Thursday, January 28, 2010

What's this Colored Roots thing about?

To put it simply, I color my genealogy and it helps keep me sane. I have been following the Mary Hill Family Roots Organizer system with a few personal modifications. On her Family Roots Organizer video, Mary advises to use four colors to file documents and to color code those documents for your four grandparents. Each grandparent gets a color; blue, green, red and yellow. So I follow that system pretty much except I use the four colors blue, green, red and purple. I decided early on that as my eyesight deteriorates, that yellow highlighting will be harder to see on white paper than other colors. One issue with a color coded system like this is that you would include all of your tools, whatever they are, in all of those four colors. Early on, knowing that I was going to use the color coded system but unsure, in the beginning if I were going to use file folders or binders, I inexpensively planned for eventually going either way. I bought four half inch binders in my four colors as well as got a box of the multicolored file folders. I could have less expensively used view binders with colored paper as shown here. I was able to envision early on that it really would not matter what four colors you used and it wouldn't matter in what sequence you choose to match which grandparent to which color as long as you consistently do it. That said, I have started to notice that almost everybody who uses the four color system appears to use the same four colors Mary uses in the same sequence.

Enter Legacy Family Tree software. Legacy Family Tree Deluxe genealogy software edition 4.0 was to my knowledge the first of the software applications (after PAF Companion) that would allow color coding of the folks. And it allowed for flexibility in choosing your own colors in what sequence. So that was my reason for purchasing Legacy rather than any other genealogy database application. Now, just about all of the software databases use colors including PAF if you get the PAF Companion addon.

Near the beginning when I started doing my color codes, I also color coded my location stuff. In Mary's Family Roots Organizer video, she shows you to use regular green hanging file folders for the subject and location files. I use subject and location files in color also, partly because I already had some hanging file folders in other colors. And partly because I want my files to be attractive, not because other people may see them but to make it more appealing for me to look at. Olive drab is not appealing to look at. So my African American stuff and other subject files are burgundy and my location stuff is orange.

Over the last several months after finding Simon in James HARGROVE's will, I also included James' family files as red because Smith's family is red and Simon being suspected as Smith's grandfather is red. Just about that time, I started running out of burgundy files because of the amount of African American stuff I was collecting. Just when I decided that maybe I need to buy some more file folders and thinking I may change (add a color) for African American stuff, knowing I needed to do something quick because I was out of burgundy. About that time another epiphany! I realized that I was also going to need more red but had plenty of blue and green for now. HEY, why don't you switch them? For my quick solution of the burgundy situation, I got six kiwi (green) ones from the container store because I don't need a whole box for the African American stuff. I will still soon need a box of the multicolored for the families, but the James HARGROVE families are now green instead of red. Let me throw in another tip. You don't have to buy file folder labels in color. I bought mine in all white and I use my colored markers to make the stripe at the top of the file folder label. Or you could use the standard green hanging files and use markers or colored paper to color code the tabs.

Even though when I wrote my goals I said I was filing ten documents per day, I discovered a couple of things that I had to do; things that had to be done in sequence. Before I could do much filing, I had to redo some of my colors as outlined above. And before I could do the birthday and anniversary thing for very many people, I had to get a lot of filing done. The week of January 4th, I didn't do any filing because of this. I was setting up my files as described here. Here is an image of my filing colors after doing a little rearranging. The Slave owners' Families vs My Families don't have as much to do with it as it is more like last year vs how I color code now. If I continued color coding James' family the same colors as my family, I will certainly mix them up pretty soon.

This post has not been as much about "you should do yours this way because I do". It is more about me documenting for myself this is how I do it as well as an explanation of "What's this Colored Roots thing about?" and why I do it. But if you find yourself some tips in here that you can use, go for it. If there are others here that you have no desire to use, it's OK for you to leave them right here.

Here are a couple more references to organizing files especially by color:

So now that I'm ready to get on with it. I also upped the number of documents to file each week to thirty instead of ten.

No comments:

Post a Comment