Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Family Files Box Instructions

Supply List
( the quantity and prices are from Walmart products)

Hanging file box with a lid ($12.)
5 Hanging files ( one box of 25 for under $5)
16 manila folders ( box of 50 for under $4)
self-adhesive tabs:
(5 generation markers for hanging files, and 16 family group markers for the finished binder)
family group sheets (one per folder), (free)
pedigree charts (one per folder), (free)

2"binder (about $4)
Card stock w/tabs to separate each generation (ream $5.)
sheet protectors (you decide how many you'll need) (50/$3.67)

Large pedigree/family group chart My Family Files ($1.99/copy @ Staples) (free download from blog)


1. Attach self-adhesive tabs to top of hanging files.Label them and put corresponding manila folders with blank group sheet and pedigree chart in each.
First hanging file: "Self"
Manila folder #1 inside
Second hanging file: "Parents"
Manila folder #2/3 inside

Third hanging file: "Grandparents"
Manila folders # 4/5, 6/7

Fourth hanging file: "Great Grandparents"
Manila folders (2 left): #'s 8/9, 10/11; (2 right): #'s 12/13. 14/15 
Fifth hanging file: "Great Great Grandparents
Manila folders (4 left): #'s 16/17, 18/19, 20/21, 22/23,
(4 right): #'s 24/25, 26/27, 28/29, 30/31

 So Who Is Who?
Men are Evens Women Are Odds!

Self:                                                 Me, my spouse, and my children                                                           
Parents:                                            2= my father 3=my mother
Grandparents:                                   4/5 =2's parents,  #6/7 =3's parents
Great Grandparents:                          8/9 = 4's parents, 10/11=5's parents 
                                                        12/13=6's parents, 14/15=7's parents
Great Great Grandparents:                16/17=8's parents, 18/19=9's parents
                                                        20/21=10's parents, 22/23 =11's parents
                                                        24/25 =12's parents, 26/27 =13's parents
                                                        28/29 =14's parents, 30/31 =15's parents

2. Put it all together! Take out one file (one family group) at a time to research. When you're done put it back!

This box comes in 4 colors!

3. Now you need to decide which documents go into which file. Remember you put them all in a box? Get them out and sort them by family groups. Email me if you get confused!

4. Assemble the binder

A. 3-hole punch 16 pieces of card stock and load into binder.

B. Label them with the family group names. 

Let's say we're putting together the binder for John Jones

I'd put John and Mary Jones on the first piece of card stock with another self-adhesive tab on the right side labeled "1".

On the next piece of card stock w/ tab#2/3 I'd put the names of John's parents.

On the next (3/4) I'd write the names of his dad's parents; on 4/5 his mother's parents, etc. If you get lost just refer to the chart "Who's Who", above! Remember: men = even / women = odd!

C. Now load the sheet protectors (for birth certificates, stories, pictures etc. when you're finished using them for research) and the 3-hole punched pedigree and family group charts (one per family).

Be creative! If you love scrapbooking ( I don't! ) you could make this a work of art with your own personal style. When you get to this point email a picture and we can show it off here!

Got questions? Everybody does! Email me at:

Coming soon: Let's Get Started: One Family At a Time




  1. This is such an amazing idea, Betsy! Thank you soo much for sharing your system in so much detail! I think that I had become overwhelmed by how I could possibly organize all the information, but you seem to make it all manageable with your box idea. =) Hugs! I really appreciate you sharing this with me! =)

  2. Thanks for taking a look Samantha. I've given the system to some friends and it makes life and research a breeze. I guess that's because you know where to go to find one family at a time...
    Anyways, let me know. I'd love to be a part of something fun!


What do you think? I'd love to know.