Weekly Planner: Organize Your Electronic Files

File Folder.bmpAre you tired of wading through a myriad of file folders on your computer in search of a long lost transcription, document, record image, or photograph? Maybe it’s time to do a little computer housekeeping. Just as it’s important to keep our papers filed and organized, we also need to keep our electronic files organized. Keeping all of your family history in one folder is a good start, but that folder can quickly grow to an unmanageable size. Break that file into sub-folders for each surname or location, and possibly further by individuals. An organized electronic filing system will allow you to spend more time searching for ancestors rather than searching for your documents and images!

6 thoughts on “Weekly Planner: Organize Your Electronic Files

  1. What a truly great idea. Sadly, It would have been even greater if I had done this at the beginning of my research. Now I must take a lot of real time out to sift ‘n’ sort, catalgue ‘n’ list. I’m sure that I have several duplicates and maybe even triplicates but in the end it will be worth it. The item has spurred me to do something that I have been pushing to the back of my list for some time now but I am not looking forward to it!

  2. As I began to get overwhelmed with cemetery pictures, census downloads and pictures I standardized on a naming convention for everything that I keep on the computer: [Year][Type][Surname][Given name] so….
    a census record would be:
    Cemetery records are:
    It really helps when I need to see what census records I have, I can do a search on any file with ‘census’ in the name.

  3. I wish I had done this a long time ago because I had found some information about a great aunt who passed away when she was about 10 and I didn’t down load it. I thought I could go back and find it but haven’t had any success.

  4. Just as everyone else has, over time, collected numerous documents, papers, photographs, etc., I had a large number of documents, etc., stored on my computer. However, my organization never seemed quite right. Recently, I updated my WordPerfect files. At the same time, I created a new, final organization which seems to work well for me. After having finally organized my hard-copy folders and files to my satisfaction last winter, I now created folders on my computer to match them. It took quite a bit of time, shifting files into the proper folders, but I believe it was worth the time spent. Now my hard copy filing and computer filing match and are much more manageable. And, at the same time, I was able to detect and delete duplicates of materials as well as any unnecessary files.

  5. Ruth, I like you should have kept track of something I found about my dad years ago. I didn’t thinking I could find it again easily. I can’t find it and so I’m suggesting to everyone just print out the info you found and keep the web address you’ll need for future reference. Avoid the frustration…

  6. I noticed earlier this year, as I began to acquire more and more family history documents, that I needed an effective means of organizing and accessing them. I had piles and couldn’t remember what death certificates, etc I had ordered. About three months ago, I started a database just for documents and set them up so that I could access them by number, name of ancestor, by category, date or location. While this is time consuming, it is already paying big dividends.

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