I love organizing. My bookshelves at home are sorted by genre. The shirts hanging in my closet are grouped together based on color (and style). And the obsession doesn’t stop there. I’m always looking for new ways to put my family history in order.
When I first started using Family Tree Maker, I didn’t bother doing much with my media items. I was just happy if they were in my tree and linked to the right people. But as my family tree grew larger and larger and I had hundreds of items, I realized I needed a system. I started taking advantage of the ability to assign categories to each item.
Family Tree Maker comes with some default categories and I created a few of my own.
Have any of you created categories that you find particularly useful? Or deleted ones you didn’t feel you needed?
The next step I took was to add more specific details to captions. Instead of 10 photos titled “Phoebe Gedge,” I now have captions like “Phoebe Gedge in the 7th grade,” and “Phoebe Gedge at her U of U college graduation.” I also changed the way I labeled records and documents. Instead of death certificates being labeled differently for each individual, every record now has a caption consisting of a heading and a name (for example, Death certificate – Herbert Gedge, Obituary – Harold A. Reed, Tombstone – Lorine Bobbitt).
How do you use captions? Do you ignore them? Add lots of details? Have your own identification system?
Now you’ve read about my system. I’d like to hear how you organize your media files in Family Tree Maker. What has worked for you? What has been a disaster? I look forward to reading your comments—maybe it will give me an excuse to organize one more time.