Redoing My Genealogy Computer Folders

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I started collecting genealogy documents on my computer.  I put things in folders labeled Census, Ellis Island, Passports, etc.  It made sense…at the time.

Now it’s a decade later.  I’ve got thousands of people who I’ve collected documents for and I can’t see to find anything!  Why isn’t her sheet in the 1910 census folder?  Oh, I put it under Portuguese ancestor research.  Why, of course, it makes so much sense!  (Sarcasm intended)  I have found myself redoing research only because I can’t remember where I filed something the day I did the research.

Doing research on the web, has changed the way I collect data–and the amount.  Because of this, I’ve decided that filing documents under the type of research doesn’t make sense anymore.  I will still keep subject folders for those documents I haven’t quite figured out.

Right now, I am working on moving everything into folders by surname and then sub folders by each couple.  It makes more sense to me.   I’m less likely to look for something in the 1910 census folder.  I am more like to say “What research have I done on Martin Kelly and Catharine Dolan” and then look for their documents all in one place.

In the end, I may also put all the photos in the same folders.  That way I can see that I have these photos for Jose Pacheco and Minnie Ventura and then see that I have 5 documents as well.

How do you organize your data?  Have you changed your habits since you’ve amassed documents from the web?

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Comments

  1. Hi Melody,

    I have a “Pending” folder where I put recently acquired/scanned documents. I keep them here until I edit them and add the information to my family tree database. Once the information is added, then I file it by surname. I decided to always file women by their maiden name. Mainly for those who were married more than once. I have a Paternal Folder and a Maternal Folder. I make surname folders within them once I have several documents pertaining to that name. I name my files surname_given name_description.file ext I also have thousands of genealogy documents and I pretty much always know where to find them. There are several individuals that have their own folders because they have a lot of documents.

    Thanks for all of your excellent work!

  2. Virginia, It’s great that you’ve found a system that works for you. That’s what I am working on. I wish I had had the foresight to know how many documents I would collect via the Internet and what a mess I would have later!

    Thanks for the compliment :)

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