Was it Reorganizing or part of a Genealogy Do-Over

January 20, 2016

question-mark-face

Yesterday, I did a blog post Is re-organizing your files helpful? and there were many, many questions about the content of what I posted. Understand that I only posted maybe one page of the 23 pages in this file. I thought I would take a few minutes to reflect on what I learned.

  • Review the information you have in your file(s)

This is not the first time that I have gone back and found information in my database or in my files that I missed the first time around. This example is almost part of the Genealogy Do-Over project that continues among the genealogy community.

  • Share your research

If I received this package around 1997, I was in the early stage of my research so may not have recognized what I should or should not keep track of. Having moved from those early days to now doing some presentations “in public”, either in person or online, I have learned lots. For that past year or so, now teaching. Those students really keep me on my toes.

  • Use Cousin Bait

Blogs are known as being a way to catch those cousins, especially the ones you don’t know. Having an Online Tree, I think falls into this same category. I have shared some information I received from a DNA Match, using an online tree. The recent visit to the Monocacy National Battlefield with “new” cousins.

One of the Queries posted on this blog appears to have made another cousin connection. I knew I wanted to be able to deal with Queries, figured out a way to do that, and a couple of days ago, cone of the comments appears to be a solid cousin connection between two people. How awesome is that.

  • Put your information into context

I read those 23 pages from start to finish. As I read, there were moments of “oh, I knew that” or “OH, I did NOT know that”! I will probably do more blog posts on that later, especially what I posted yesterday. Some eye opening pieces of information, just on that one page.

To wrap this blog post up, there was a comment about a book that the family was working on, “Hell and Beyond”. The letter was written in 1978 and was asking questions about THE BOOK. The family has always talked about it, knew about it and I have the book that was published in 2006. I received my copy with an enclosed letter dated December 7, 2006, Pearl Harbor Day. It was on that day, that the authors father began his “Diary of War and Captivity”. Won’t go into that her, BUT just hours before I found this folder, I have mailed an extra copy of the book to my DNA Cousin. (she doesn’t know it’s coming, so don’t tell her). We had talked about “the book” on the phone earlier in the week.

  • How do we communicate

As many ways as possible. Blogs, Email, Snail Mail, even the telephone. You know those things that hang on the wall in the kitchen?

If I hadn’t posted my tree Online, done a DNA test, posted a private message to my newly found DNA Cousin, who asked me to call her, the letters I have talked about recently, wouldn’t be sitting on my desk waiting to be transcribed, giving me some insight into the lives of my grandparents. You never know when that one person will make contact with you that has the key or small piece of information you have been looking for, will be looking for something you have.

I am guessing that the reaction to the book will be much the same as me finding this folder that I have had for years.


How I file my digital images

October 27, 2013

I was listening to the Genealogy Guys podcast this afternoon, and Drew Smith and George G Morgan were responding to a listener’s email.

The Genealogy Guys Podcast #256 – 2013 October 8

I was going to just send them an email, but thought that I might share this in this blog, because the way I file my digital information (Digital Overload as some one say) has an impact on my three Blogs.

Some folks store their digital information by Surname, some by Location, some by Record Group, or some combination of all of the above.

I have chosen to create Surname Folders. I should be more specific Birth Surname folders and Record Type folders.

The key to remember is How am I going to find what I am looking for, OR where I am going to save that digital image. I will most likely use Windows Explorer to do this. I always have the Show File Extension option so that I can SEE the file type that I am creating or looking for. So SORTING now becomes very important.

For the Filename of Pictures or other images, NOT including images of Records I use:

Surname_FirstnameMiddleameSuffix (without any spaces). The Underscore helps visually see the Surname. I do not use All Caps for surname. That hasn’t worked for me, but others do.

Each person is grouped together. In my case, my grandfather does not have a suffix, he wasn’t born with one, my Dad was a Jr, and I am a III. That keeps us separated.

What follows now becomes important for each person. I add a dash followed by YYYY (full year) format, so that puts them in Date Order. That is IF I know the year of the digital image. I follow that with a Dash and Event.

The Dashes are to help separate or break up the text. If I had a more accurate date, I would use YYYY-MM-DD format, IF that becomes an issue.

No Date, then just the Event. Let’s say that I had 10 pictures from an 80th birthday for an individual and the birthday party was in 1998. The filename would have 1998-Birthday-01, 1998-Birthday-02, 1998-Birthday following the Birth Surname_Firstname_Middlename-

For file name sorting this works great.

But, what about a family photo? (not getting into the meta data here). I precede the filename with Family_Surname etc. so I know that there are more than one person in that photo. In this case, I may end up with multiple Surnames in that photo, so I would have multiple Copies of that image in a couple of Surname Folders. Luckily (or unluckily) I don’t have too many of them.

I also have some pictures of houses where people lived. I precede them with House_Surname etc. This continues to help with the sorting in windows Explorer as People photos would be sorted by person; all of the Family photos would be sorted together in a group, as well as houses.

Images of Records work much the same way, in the Surname Folder. For example Census Records

YYYY_Fed_PA_County_Location-Surname_FirstnameMiddlenameSuffix – For US Census Records

YYYY_PA_County_Location-Surname_FirstnameMiddleNameSuffix – For State Census Records

RecordType_YYYY_Surname_FirstnameMiddlenameSuffix – For Birth, Marriage, Death certificates.

Census, filed by Head of Household. Marriage Records would have two copies of the same image.

But, what if I don’t know the Female’s Birth Surname. For a death record, I would file that in the married surname folder UNTIL I found her birth surname. When I do that, I rename the file and move it to the Surname folder.

Since I have a Tombstone Tuesday Blog where I post headstones AND because I contribute to Find-A-Grave, I file in a Cemetery Folder with Cemetery subfolders.

State_County_Cemetery

with filenames of

State_County_Cemetery-Surname_FirstnameMiddlenameSuffix

Why do all of this?

When I want to include one of those images in my genealogy database, I know where to look and which file to choose from to be attached to a Person or a Citation (for those records). My database will make a Copy of the file in the folders above, and put them into ONE folder for that database. So, outside of my program, windows explorer will show me the files sorted in such a way that I know what I have.

Those filenames aren’t very helpful within my database, but I can put a Caption on that image, and the Filename helps me put that Caption in a more reader friendly format. Like Firstname Middlename Surname Suffix – 1998 Birthday Party – 1.

or 1940 US Federal Census PA Chester County West Chester – (name) Household

This format has worked for me, but I have also tweaked it a couple of times as more and more digital records have become available. I don’t what to have to Think about Where to file these records or scan or picture, nor what to call it. My driving force is the Sorting feature when trying to locate a file.

It has worked for my blogs, Find-A-Grave, and my genealogy database management program.

Thanks Genealogy Guys for a great topic.


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