In my previous posting, I described a folder structure based upon Ahnentafel numbers, and pointed out how it would be difficult to work with once it become complex, or if it involved a descendants project instead of an ancestral project.
In this posting I'll describe the structure of a hierarchical folder/file system. As I mention in the book, I know that some folks use color-coding for the 4 lines of their grandparents, but one drawback to this is that there may be interrelationships among some grandparent lines, especially when they are in the same geographic area.
For my own needs, I have my set of maternal grandparents from a several county area of upstate South Carolina, my paternal grandfather from a Newark, NJ line that goes back (eventually) to Ireland (with some ancestors taking a generation stop in England), and my paternal grandmother's family from Manhattan, and before that back to Poland. This means that I can divide my ancestry into essentially 3 major geographic areas, which means that I'll be dealing with 3 sets of records.
So what would this look like in practice as a set of folders?
First, I'll use surname folders (much the same way that many genealogists have traditionally used surname binders for their print records), and group them into 3 overarching folders:
In this way, I'll encourage myself to focus on one part of my tree at a time, whenever I open one of those folders.
Is there anything that I can think of in regards to my personal research that doesn't fit neatly into one of these 3 folders? Yes. My personal DNA test results. So I will include a 4th folder to hold any documents relating to that.