Paper or Digital?

Organization of Genealogy

Organization of Genealogy

The first step in organizing your genealogy documentation is to decide whether you will be documenting with paper or using a computer, software, or cloud based system to manage your ancestral data. When I started genealogy research in 2004, I immediately kept my records on my computer. Recently I decided that I really should have an actual physical copy of what I have accumulated and prepared so far. So I am using a 3 ring binder, and using family group sheets as main documents for each family. I am creating a Table of contents and ancestor fan tree to have at the beginning of the binder. After researching this family history for over 10 years, it feels like an accomplishment to have a physical copy of the research. Given the fact that I am a heavy technology user, you would expect that I would be a die-hard technology advocate, but the truth is, I can see the advantage to having a simple paper system. For every added feature and benefit to the digital organization of family history research, there is a layer of complexity and difficulty in the process.

Digital Genealogy Pros

  • keyword searchable
  • variety of reports
  • easy to share information digitally
  • many backup possibilities

Digital Genealogy Cons

  • need to maintain a home computer
  • more complex; more options
  • constantly changing technology; software updates and glitches
  • Backup Technology knowledge


Paper Genealogy Pros

  • simple
  • unchanging
  • easy for quick access at Brick & Mortar Libraries
  • easy to share with non-technical people

Paper Genealogy Cons

  • no keyword searching
  • printing costs
  • difficult to share online
  • paper cuts 🙂



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *