General Genealogy · Organizing Documents

Computer File Organizing Project Update

A few months back, I blogged about the mess that I had made of my digitized documents on my computer. I have hundreds if not thousands of records in file folders. But, I’m not sure what’s been input, what’s been source, or if they are even in the right folder.

I decided it was time to get everything in order. At first the project was going well. I had gone through a couple folders, input records, and noted “input done” at the end of the filename. But, it became clear after a couple of weeks that I was creating more problems for myself. As I went through a folder, I could not tell what I had just touched and what was done correctly to begin with.

I took a step back and divised a plan. I decided that I need to move stuff from the Genealogy Documentation and Research folder into a new folder after I touched it. I created the “2011 Genealogy Documents” folder. The from that I started my file which mimics my binders. Everything is done by family groups. So I have:

Jones
John and Mary Jane Jones
–Thomas and Margaret Jackson Jones
—-Josephine and Joseph Pohley
——-Pohley Family
—-Margaret and Harry Jackson
——-Jackson Family
–John and Mary Collins Jones
—-Collins Family
and so forth

I decided rather than doing an Associated Families folder as I have now that I would put the associate family documents with the person they married. That is why the Pohley folder is with Josephine and Joseph. I may change that later but I think it’s okay now because I know the folder attaches to the couple.

This will probably cause me problems with I get to my Pacheco’s and de Braga. The family structures are different. While very few of my Irish relatives married multiple times into one family, it was the norm with my Portuguese relatives. I may have to do an “Associated Portuguese Families” folder or I will make use of link the folders together. It’s probably a long way until I attempt the massive Portuguese folders so I have time to think about how to do it.

Next, I added a couple of folders for things that didn’t fit. Under Jones, there is:
Jones Unknown
–This is for documents that I have no clue who the person is
Jones Possible Match
–This is for those who match a name in my database but I’m not 100% sure if it’s a match
Jones Stories
–This is my “cheat” folder. I have several newspaper articles which don’t necessarily fit into my database and has no clear information to input. An example would be an article on a party that a person attended or the fact that they went to PTA meetings. While I might list that the person was a PTA member, I am not going to source every occurrence of it.

I really am not sure how I will deal with these. I most likely will put them in the notes field for the person in the end. Right now, I would rather focus on the documents with clear genealogical data that can be input–those that will help me identify the person and make further research possible.

I do have additional folders for events. By that I mean, I found a relative who was charged with murder. There are several newspaper articles pertaining to the story. I have all those in one folder but I think in the future I would want to locate them all together instead of mixed up with other stuff.

Now that I have the file structure down I must follow it! No getting loosey goosey with the names.

The whole thing is overwhelming. But, I’ve approached this with the “one step at a time” philosophy. I try to do a little each day instead of trying to empty a whole folder at once.

I am happy to say that today I emptied the Jones Jackson folder and all it’s subfolders. It’s nice to know that everything I have on the family has been input. Now I know that if I think I have a marriage record for a couple it will be input and filed correctly.

So, off I got to start the next folder. I should be done in a decade or so. LOL

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