In the Allied Families Research Center in Chesterfield, MO there were twenty four-drawer vertical file cabinets containing several hundred thousand Biofiles, each devoted to a specific person. These Biofiles were assembled by Phil Upchurch over a forty-year period based on his own research as well as inputs from over a thousand family history cooperators. Biofiles were created primarily for American Upchurches and their descendants and for non-Upchurches (Allied Families) who lived nearby and were possibly connected.
The end result is a wide and diverse body of information dealing with land ownership, occupations, lifestyles, and political landscapes associated with individuals who lived in particular communities throughout America. Every entry in each Biofile shows the source of the information, which source is also on file. Entries are numbered, but entered in no particular order. In many cases, added notations are used for clarification or to put the entry into context. Entries may be handwritten or cut-and-paste printed items. The Biofiles are open-ended and subject to ongoing additions and notations.
Often multiple copies of a given extract are made so that it may be entered in more than one Biofile. That a copy is to be placed in a given Biofile is signified by entering a triangular symbol “∆” by the name of the destination Biofile.
The relevance of the Biofile system for a given community is enhanced by creating or adding to Biofiles for neighbors and functionaries. For example, if one is interested in data for the purchase of a tract of land by a specific person, a copy of the extract may be placed in the Biofile of named neighbors. In this manner, a large body of information on individuals living in a community is accumulated.
As a beginning, selected Biofiles will be transcribed into PDF documents and placed on the Allied Families website. This will enhance the readability of the documents and also make them searchable. Volunteers are needed who will help upgrade individual Biofiles by converting hand-written entries into Word documents.
While not to be detailed here, there are companion files for the Biofiles dealing with organizations, geographical entities and special subjects. Extracts destined for Biofiles may also be placed in one or more of these companion files. These companion files will be made a part of the UAFA website in due course.
The Allied Families Biofiles Program is a ground-breaking undertaking in support of family history research, preservation and sharing. Individuals wishing to add to existing Biofiles or to create new ones are invited to submit drafts to UAFA for review following which submissions will be posted or at least entered in the vertical files. Financial contributions are also invited in support of the Biofile system.