When you’re used to researching online, organizing your application on paper can seem a little traumatic. Do you really need to print out everything?
Maybe. While societies are transitioning to digital submission, the vast majority aren’t there yet. The first step in your application process should always be to ask what system your chapter/local society uses. Even when societies have a digital application system in place, many local groups aren’t using it.
No matter what, plan to create an organization system to store your digital files. In most cases, a folder for the society that contains a draft of the application and subfolders for each generation with the supporting documents will be “good enough.” Plan to scan and add anything that was “born digital.”
Why take the time? First of all, it’s a great way to ensure you can actually find these papers again. If you want to join a new society or just print out someone’s birth certificate, you’ll have easy access to what you need. Second, it can provide the basis for doing an electronic submission.
Electronic submission currently comes in three forms. The first is a submission system completely hosted by the organization. That system will allow you to upload documents directly to it but won’t necessarily give you a back up. (Hence the digital files.) The second is a shared cloud drive system, in which you’re asked to copy documents to a registrar or historians cloud drive. The third is a “email by generation” system. No matter which system your society uses, you’ll need to have documents organized.
While you may still need to use paper, take the time to scan and organize your documents. You won’t regret it.