About My Ancestors · Computers and Technology

Reorganizing My Computer Files

After my hard drive crashed in January and I got a new computer, I began reloading all my old genealogy files.  This included folders filled with documents, indexes, and a variety of research sources.

Now that I’ve got everything reloaded, I’m rethinking my former method of organization.  Previously, I had a main folder titled “Genealogy Research”.  Then within the folder were subfolders for different types of research like Newspapers, Ship Manifests, and so forth.  Within those folders were subfolders by family.

This served me well when I only had a few folders.  But, it doesn’t anymore.  It’s more cumbersome than anything.  I have to think about what type of document or index I might be looking for than think about if it’s under the husband’s surname or of the wife’s.  Who knows what I was thinking on any given day.

I’ve decided to reorganize it all.  This time I’m going to do it differently.  It hasn’t been easy decided what’s the best way.  Do I separate by type of research, locality, or name?  What do I do with a document that has multiple families on it like a census page that may have 4 or 5 different families right after each other?

I’ve going to start with the main Genealogy Research folder.  I’m going to create a subfolder by surname.  Then I will do families and have a subfolder for each child.

This is what it will look like:
Genealogy Research

–Pacheco

—-Antonio & Alexandrinha

Their documents

——Maria & Benedict Iida

Their documents

—-Manoel & Jacinta

Their documents

——Jesse & Angelina

Their documents

And so forth.  I’ll be able to go to a couple’s folder and see all the documents relating to them.  If I have a document with multiple families on it, I can easily put that in a subject folder like “1910 census” and then put a shortcut to the document in the couple’s folder.

It seems complicated, but I think it will be much easier for me.  It replicates the format I’ve used for my genealogy binders, so it only makes sense to use the same format.

How do your organize your digital documents on your computer?  Have you found a way that makes it easy for you to locate a document when you want to review it?

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