5 Easy Steps

Step 2e – 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.



Here’s an example of the different tabs you can have, along with what you might include within each tab.  However, these are just suggestions.  Organize yours any way you’d like.

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 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 a place where you can jot them down.  It gives you 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.

Research Notes

  • 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 jot them down and 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 and occasionally print it and drop it in this tab.

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.
  • You can keep the checklists you’re currently working on in this tab, and keep the other checklists in the file folders for each ancestor.

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 in the Foreign Research Help Center under the specific countries.  Print the ones you want and 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.
  • Census Forms – If you’re using U.S. Census Records, you’ll want to print the form for each census year and keep them here.  This way you’ll be able to read all the census column headings (which are just about impossible to read on the digitized pages you’ll be looking at).



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



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