Genealogy Friday: Organizing Digital Files

posted in: Genealogy, Organization | 0

If you’ve been doing genealogy for any length of time you probably have a lot of digital files.  So how do you organize these files?

  • Create folders—create folders for your family history. Have a main folder that is easily assessable as you work.  I created foldersforall of the main families I work on.
    Organizing and Backing up digital files is imperative for genealogists
    Organizing and Backing up digital files is imperative for genealogists
  • Create a file structure that works for you—only you know what’s best for you. We are all different and unique and what works for one person may not work for another.  Create a system that works best for you.
  • Organize by category or surname—organize by what is best for you. Most genealogist use two systems.  The first is filing by surname and record type and the second is by family group or ancestral couple.  Personally I use the family group.  However, if I have a lot of one type of record {such as military records, pictures, etc} I will create a folder within that family folder to hold those files.
  • Be consistent in naming patterns—use the same system and naming patterns with all of your ancestor files. If you don’t you will become frustrated and not know where the needed files are located.
  • Clean up files—clean up the files for information that is out dates, no longer necessary, proven wrong, etc.
  • Delete duplicates—if you have duplicates of a specific record delete them while you are cleaning up your files.
  • Save the most up to date files—back up your files on a regular basis. This is especially important after working on a family and gathering a lot of new information.  There are numerous online and offline ways to backup files.
  • Name files—name files in a way that makes sense to you and is easily assessable.
  • Create shortcuts for most used folders—at least have a shortcut for your main file that leads to your family groups and records. When working on a family you want to be able to easily access the needed information.
  • File folders immediately—file your documents and folders right away with your other records. If not, it is easy to forget about them, lose them or not remember where the records go at a later date.
  • Backup on a regular basis—backup all files on a regular basis. I have had times when I have lost information by not doing this.  No one wants to have to retrace their steps and work.

How do you organize your online genealogy files?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.