following information was written for use with the training
titled " How to Organize Your Paper Files " taught by
Mary E. V. Hill and is used by permission of Gary Horlacher.
same basic filing system can also be used for families
that did not have fixed surnames, however it requires
some additional considerations. The example described
here is from Scandinavian countries where prior to the
period 1860-1900 a child took his father's given name
and the suffix -sen/-sson or -datter/-dotter depending
on whether it was a boy or girl. Similar patronymic
systems were used in the Netherlands, Slavic Countries,
and northern Germany. They can be handled differently.
Patronymic systems used in Latin American countries
may required a different organization.
|Click on the image to enlarge
of using a surname to organize your family files, for
countries with patronymics you will need to use the
name of the farm or village where the family lived.
As Scandinavian and European societies were based on
a feudal system and most people were farmers, the place
where the family was living becomes very critical in
identifying and distinguishing the family from others
with the same names. In Norway and parts of Sweden and
Finland, every farm had a name. Larger farming districts
also had names. Not every farm in Denmark and some parts
of Sweden had a name, however the village or farming
community had a name.
property was generally stayed in the same family from
one generation to another, you can use the place name
and family name as identifiers in the place of the surname.
color coding system is used to distinguish different
branches of your family. Just as you can distinguish
your four grandparent's lineages using four colors,
you can also identify each of your Scandinavian lineages
with a different color. If you have two Danish ancestors
and one Swedish ancestor who all came to America from
different parts of Denmark and Sweden, you should use
a separate color for each line. This will help you keep
the three lines distinct and keep you from getting them
confused. Mark each file according to the color of the
emigrant ancestor whose lineage it belongs to.
filing system will then have a file with pedigree charts
at the first showing the ancestry of the emigrant ancestor.
It will then have general information and records about
Denmark, about the county where the emigrant was from,
the parish where the family was from, and the farm where
the family was from. These general and locality based
files will have a tab in the center of the file, so
they can easily be distinguished from the family files
which will have tab labels on the left or right side.
The farm file might include copies of census records
that list all those living on a farm or in a village
for different census years. The county file might have
extracts from records that include more information
than just one farm.
the file with information from the farm will be a file
for each generation of the family listed from latest
generation back to the earliest generation. For example,
your first ancestor from Denmark was Iver Bendtsen,
born 1822, from the Skårup farm, his file will be listed
first. The files for his father Bendt Knudsen (born
1802) and grandfather Knud Madsen (born 1769) raised
their families on the Skårup farm will be listed next.
some cases the property may have been inherited from
a mother's line rather than from the father's line,
in which case the father would be from another farm.
The mother's line will then be followed under that farm
and the father's lineage will be listed under the farm
where his family was from. In this example, Knud Madsen's
wife Kirsten Bendtsdatter was born on the Skårup farm,
so her father's file (Bendt Nielsen, born 1725) will
be listed next. Knud Madsen was born in the village
of Højmark in Lem Parish. After all the direct line
ancestors from the Skårup farm have been filed, a place
file for Lem Parish and one for Højmark village will
be next with a center tab. Then the file for Mads Andersen
will be the next file.
pedigree chart at the beginning file will be a key to
the system and pedigree charts showing the ancestors
who extend back in each locality should be included
in the locality files. You should have one copy of this
pedigree chart with the farm where the family is filed
listed next to the male ancestor's name and highlighted.
This will make it easy to find a particular ancestor's
example is shown in the following diagram with the files
(each square represents a file folder) at the front
of the filing box at the bottom of the diagram:
coding red for all the files for the ancestors of Iver
Anders Højmark Højmark
Kirsten Bendtsdatter 1769
Ane Kirstine Iversdatter 1802
Johanna Marie Christensd. 1825
[Includes all documents, biographies, photographs,
and other family history materials about this family]
Karen Jensdatter 1725
[Includes copies of pedigree charts showing the
direct line ancestors who lived on this farm and
extracts of census and other documents that include
all those living in this village]
[Contains maps, historical information, and extracts
[several parishes in this county]
general information about Denmark, handwriting guide,
word lists, and pedigree charts showing the ancestry
of Iver Bendtsen]
left and right tabs can both be used for family files.
The purpose is to distinguish the place files from the
family files by having the place files in the middle.
If you are researching families other than direct ancestors
(collateral lines), you could put all the direct line
ancestors in left tab files and all non-direct lineages
in right tabbed files.
information listed on the tab includes the name of the
husband and wife on the left and the farm where the
family lived and the husband's year of birth. If you
have not color coded the files, you might also include
an abbreviation to indicate this is the ancestry of
Iver Bendtsen. If a family lived at more than one farm
during their married and later life, try to find the
place where they lived for the most time or where the
majority of the children were born and file the family
under that farm.
here for a site with more patronymics information.