Step 2d. Set Up Your Family History Binder

Your Family History Binder contains a summary of all the information you’ve found on your family.

It’s the one place where you can keep a complete set of all your Pedigree Charts — plus your notes, checklists, guides and anything else you want to keep handy.  It lets you quickly see your family history at-a-glance. (You’ll keep all the documents and other information you find in your file folders.)

As your family research progresses, it won’t be long before this probably splits into two binders: your main Family History Binder and a Research Binder.  But, for now, one binder will do just fine.

Tab 1 – Your Pedigree Charts

  • The Pedigree Chart is like a snapshot of all your ancestors.
  • Using a computer program such as PAF, you can make additions and corrections and easily print out new charts — and it will also print out an Index to all the names on your Pedigree Charts (very useful when you have 20-30 charts).

Tab 2 – Your Temple Work Information

NewFamilySearch tracks all of your temple work you.  However, you still need a place to keep any reports you print and also any other handwritten temple work notes you want to keep handy.

Tab 3 — Things To Do / Research Notes

Things To Do

  • As you’re working on your family history, you’ll start thinking of all kinds of things you need to do…and want to do.  This is the place where you jot them all down.
  • If you keep a page or two in this tab in your Research Binder, you’ll always know where to capture your thoughts and ideas, and you’ll always have a single place to go to see what’s next on your list of family history things to get done.
  • You can divide it into a few different groupings—and also, if you want, prioritize the list “A, B, or C” so you’re always doing your most important things first.

It’s amazing all the inspirations and research ideas you’ll get as you think about different kinds of records to search for the ancestral lines you’re working on.

So what do you do?  Simple.  Just grab a piece of paper and jot them all down.  You’ll end up with a nice list of research ideas that you can work on  and check off as you go along.  Another option is to create a simple spreadsheet.

Keep these sheets in this tab of your Research Binder—or you can keep them in the ancestor’s file folder.  It’s your choice.

Use this tab for:

  • Research Ideas.
  • Research Notes.
  • All the info you have on a specific couple.
  • Or anything else research-related you’d like to keep in here.

This is your family history, so you can actually keep anything you want in this tab (or any of the other tabs)!

Tab 4 — Your Research Checklists

It’s easy to lose track of where you are with your research—especially if you’re researching more than one family.

A simple checklist can keep your research focused, give you a complete family overview of what records you’ve found, and help you decide what records you want to search for next.

Tab 5 — Your Resource Guides, Maps & Helps

As you start your research in a specific country or state, find any research aids that might be available to help you in your research.  These documents are available at the Asheboro Family History Center in our locality binders—and can also be ordered online from  Keep them in this tab.

  • Research Outlines — Describe the records and strategies you can use to pursue family history research in a specific geographic location or in a particular type of record.
  • Step-By-Step Guides — Provide specific instructions and tips for searching records, samples of records, background information about the record type, and where to find the record.
  • Letter-Writing Guides — Show you how to write letters requesting genealogical information from non-English speakers and provides some non-English translations of foreign words.
  • Resource Guides —Describe how to use a particular source, such as a census, land record, military record, etc.
  • Foreign Word Lists — Contain English translations of foreign words contained in old documents from foreign countries.
  • Maps — Show current and ancient county, ecclesiastical, and other boundaries for many countries.

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Next…  Step 3.  Set Up Your Internet Browser Bookmarks (Favorites)