How I Organize My Genealogy Desk

Today, I’m posting pictures of what I call my “genealogy nook.”

(**Again, my usual disclaimer: our home is a hundred years old and not yet restored, so please excuse its rough shape!)

  • Why a genealogy nook?

Because we have five children, there is no room in our home for an actual office, so I took this little hallway and turned it into my workspace:

genealogy nook

Today, I will be discussing THE DESK.

I especially LOVE this desk because it has built-in shelves on top:

genealogy desk

Here’s a breakdown of what I keep on those shelves:


(in case you are wondering, I keep a power strip behind the GTD inbox, and all my cords are tucked back in there, too. There’s a hole drilled into the bottom shelf that lets the power strip’s one cord out to an outlet behind the desk. Keeps everything clean and tidy! When I need a cord for my laptop or phone, I just reach behind the inbox and grab it!)

**Note: the “GTD” I refer to in the above image is the “Getting Things Done” system for desk organization, which you can read about in this book:


Click to view actual book

I use this desk not only as my genealogy desk, but as “command central” of our home, where I keep track of papers for the entire family (bills, school papers, invitations, etc).

You can learn how to maintain a GTD-worthy work desk that is also a family command center in these videos by Power of Moms:

Here is how the GTD Tickler File works. As you can see in the above photos, my tickler file is just a binder. Inside it, I have tabs for each month of the year–that was the format that worked best for me. I LOVE it!
  • Other fun items in my genealogy nook:

The mysterious “unknown baby” picture. We don’t know the identity of this sweet baby, whose picture we inherited. I hang it here to remind me of the many unsolved family mysteries I need to keep working on each day!


The tiny writing desk. I got this at a yard sale for a quarter, but it really helps save my wrists and neck from injury, since typing on this 11-inch MacBook air would otherwise leave me hunched over and typing at unhealthy angles all day:


This little stand elevates my laptop to the perfect height, and the little gully on the side holds my cell phone (I have NO idea what it was originally for???)



Speaking of bargains, I got my desk for a mere sixty dollars on Craigslist!

The reason: it was homemade and not store-bought!

I don’t think the college student who was selling it had any idea that “homemade many generations ago” is actually worth so much more than that, but his hurry to sell sure was a blessing to me! 🙂

**Update: I’ve gotten a lot of response regarding the little computer stand. A few very sharp readers have informed me that it is actually a telephone stand, which you can buy at Staples, at this link:

The reason I even bought the stand in the first place is because my husband uses something similar at work for his larger laptop, though his is much nicer:

Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 10.46.37 AM

You can find this larger computer stand at the following link:

Now that I’ve shown everyone inside my office, future posts will invite everyone inside my head, including my personal strategies for overcoming distraction and actually getting my genealogy projects DONE! 🙂

Have a great week, everyone, and happy hunting!
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4 thoughts on “How I Organize My Genealogy Desk

  1. Nice job!

    Your “tiny desk” looks just like my telephone organizer stand. 🙂 The slot on the side is for a personal telephone book or a pad of paper for taking messages.


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