12 January 2022

Genealogy Digital File Organization

Looking at the January sales I see that I am not the only one who likes to get organized during the first of the year. The sales are filled with products to help with organization and I love organization in my house and with my genealogy research. The sales are filled with fitness items too, but I would rather be organizing things.

There is nothing more frustrating than starting to write a blog and searching for the record or picture that I want to share with my readers. Some of the records I have paid money for and not being able to find it could lead to my ordering another one and that would tick me off. I could be spending that money on books, or office supplies, or a genealogical society subscription.

When I started doing research I kept paper files. Lately, I am keeping my files digitally. I wrote about how I organized my paper files here and here. My digital files are set up so they are consistant throughout.

Picture organization is another matter, and another post, as they aren't as organized as I would like. I have to be careful about renaming pictures because I attach them to my Roots Magic Software program and if I change my file name they will not be attached to the software. I would have to reattach my newly named file and I have better uses of my time, like researching!

Here is how I organize my computer files. I use Windows and in My Documents I have a orange colored folder labeled Genealogy. I use the free version of Folder Marker for my colorization. 

Inside my Genealogy folder I have other folders organized mostly by topics. The orange files are non family files, but are full of information needed to conduct research. The red file folders are my personal research files where I separate my families, my husband's families, and my son-in-law's families. The black folder is research I have done for others. The purple file folder is family pictures, which is separate from other personal pictures.

The orange file folders do not have further colorization of files. Most of the information in these folders are .pdf's, word files, or websites.

The red files do have further colorization. Do these file colors look familar? The colors correspond with the ones used in my paper file organization. 
  • Green: Fredrick-Maternal Grandfather
  • Red: Glover-Paternal Grandfather
  • Blue: Graf-Maternal Grandmother
  • Yellow: Watt-Paternal Grandmother
The orange file "Places" includes records that have multiple surnames in them. Those documents such as church membership lists or pioneer lists. The ones that  have multiple families listed.

Looking into the Documents-Genealogy-Brenda-Glover file folder I have the surnames related to my Glover research. They are all in red to correlate with the Red for Glover.

I haven't used colorization at this level but I could. This level contains all the generations in the Glover line that I have researched. Two additional folders: Miscellaneous Not Sure Where They Go and Places are included. These folders are all related to the Glover surname.

Finally, we get to the actual digitized records. Again, I chose not to colorize at this level. I have organized these records by categories for the person. For example, autobiograpy, birth, census, coaching, marriage, military, teaching credentials,etc.

This is what works for me. I use it for all my digitized research and so far, knock on wood, I haven't lost a record. I will confess I have ordered a duplicate record once or twice.

Share your organization tips in the comment section. Good luck if you are organizing your genealogy this January.

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