Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Project Time: Re-structuring Genealogy Files & Folders

Thankfully, the longer I research, the more documents and information I continue to accumulate. Part of our research work is the ability to retrieve our information, at any given time.
As I have added new documents and photos to my computer files, over a period of time, I see the time has come once again to reassess the current system I use. This is not a fun venture, in fact it is a bit painful, as I dislike sharing precious research time for organizing.  ⌛️
Yet, I recognize it is a vital part of what we do, and streamlining our system will help make our research efforts more effective in the long run.

This was further driven home as I began entering information into my new updated Legacy 9 software program that I installed into another computer. Since I am adding new media and documents, this time, I discovered they are saved in different locations on another computer and an external hard drive. I knew it was time to streamline all into one easy workable system.  All of this includes restructuring and renaming folders, files, purging duplicates or more, and more purging in general of all that is not needed.
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As if that were not enough, I also decided to enter my information manually, into Legacy 9, rather than use a Gedcom file. I know, this is all going to take a long, long, long time!  But, the goal is for it all  to work together. So a fresh, new start is in order and a positive outlook will definitely, be needed to get the job done.

 Since, I realize that what has worked for me in the past is not working efficiently, now. I looked at several of my old standbys of organization techniques and one or two new sources for fresh input. It is important to recognize how you work and how you process information and then find a system that facilitates and works for you. And, oh, of course, be persistent once you decide and stick with it. My main focus is to keep it as simple as possible - where I don't need to rethink a complicated process of what I did.  In addition, it is not always necessary to reinvent the wheel, and I can therefore, glean from others trials and errors and expertise, when possible.

So, I checked a few blogs that I often read as time permits and decided to look further at Randy Seaver's blog post about digital file organization.  I really like his approach and have decided to blend some of his ideas into revamping my file structure.
I am now knee deep in process. I separated the family files as Randy did in his article then I also separated my own maternal and paternal lines Into separate folders, each with their own corresponding surnames. I hope by separating them further, it will help me keep them straight a bit easier. Whatever system one decides on, it is key to adapt it to how you work and think.

I know there are different rules of thinking, when it comes to genealogy Media, Photos, and Document files. I will try keeping a Media folder in each Surname grouping folder for each of Family lines, rather than one designated location for all Genealogy Media, Photos, Docs, etc...      
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I believe, this will work best for me at this point. I have had it all in one location but I found it became rather large and difficult to manage.  Although, I do keep a separate folder for my regular Media, Photos, and personal files - unrelated to Genealogical purposes.

In addition to restructuring files, I am in process of renaming them for uniformity and easier access, especially as I save records for a particular person or surname.

If you need ideas, Randy offers excellent advice and information on his article called 'Genealogy Digital File Folder Organization' for file naming conventions, and other helpful suggestions. Actually, I find his blog to be a wonderful resource, overall.
I know there are many others, that I have also learned from, as well.  Another resource to check into is a book, by William Dollarhide, 'Managing a Genealogical Project'. It is very good, as well.  In addition to organizing, he covers the descendancy numbering systems and organizing a variety of other research materials.
I would suggest to look into the latest version, as it includes a chapter on computer-related ideas for digital genealogy organizing.  There are many good books on genealogical research including organization to choose from.

Once you decide on how to go about it and what structure to use, then it becomes simply a matter of doing the job and being persistent on an almost daily basis. Some days, due to other responsibilities I set the timer to get the time in.... and it works to stay on track.   ⏳    Other days I stay at it until. Either way, stay on task and enjoy the fruit of your labor.

May your journey of family history continue to progress and unfold before you.

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