One of the things that I needed to do when I switched to RM4 was to reattach all the digital media that I had acquired back to my source citations. When I looked in my genealogy media folder, I knew that it was going to be a long process.
I had realized before the software switch that something needed to be done, but I hadn't tackled that huge organizational task yet. When I would try to find files to use in my ancestral blog, I would struggle to find what had happened to it. I knew exactly which census record I wanted, but what was it named? One of the reasons that my media was unorganized was because when using FTM I would use the Ancestry.com search feature and allow it to capture the media that I needed. Then it would label it any way that it wanted, usually with some odd number code. I also never developed a good labeling system when I would save files.
So I came up with a way to organize everything. It seems to be working so far, but I still have a long ways to go to complete catching up.
Here is what I have done:
- I have a "Genealogy" folder in My Documents (yes, I use Windows). This folder contains everything that I have collected for my genealogy from source materials to ancestral photos to resources to forms to material that I have questions to answer before I can include it in my database.
- In the "Genealogy" folder, I have a "Media" folder for all my digital sources.
So this is what I added inside the "media" folder:
- A folder for each surname
- Inside each surname folder I made a folder for each family group and numbered them. For example, my BASCOM folder contains these folders: "01 - Dewey Francis BASCOM", "02 - Willard Theodore BASCOM", "03 - Robert Bruce BASCOM", and "04 - Carley H BASCOM" (And as soon as I can get enough evidence of Carley's father, I'll add a 5th folder with his name)
- I am matching up these folder names to my paper files and organizing my binders by surname and then by family group number.
- The files I am labeling "SURNAME given name year type". For example a 1935 Florida census for Dewey is labeled "BASCOM Dewey 1935 Florida census."
- The files for all of the brothers and sisters throughout their lives end up in a folder within their father's folder. So inside the folder "01 - Michael DUNNING", I have folders for his other children (besides my direct ancestor). "Andrew Jackson DUNNING" and "Eleanor DUNNING DRIVER" have their own folders.
For the few "extra" people that I have, I have placed a separate folder inside my ancestor's folder. When I was trying to find the father of Thomas Russell MATTHEWS recently, I had to follow his daughter Lydia who lived with two cousins in two separate censuses. First she lived with Timothy Smith MATTHEWS and then Anselm Tupper HOLCOMB. I have separate folders for each of these men's families inside my folder for Thomas' father, Phineas MATTHEWS and then inside their parents (Phineas' children's folders).
As I add my "old" media to my database, I am also going to work on my source citations and make them match up to Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills. I've been good about sourcing everything in my database, but have not always used the best format so that others can also find my sources.
I know that this system will definitely be better than my old system. But as I go through files, I will probably need to refine it, especially as I start going deeper into the family lines.
How are you organizing your digital media? What do you think of my system. Leave me a comment or send me an email to genwishlist [at] gmail [dot] com.