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How do you organize your personal collection

This subject has always interested me, as well. There are about as many ways to organize your files as there are researchers doing it! I use a very simple system..... VERY simple, but it works well for me and I can easily find any document that I need.

I have a folder, Family History Files with subfolders that include Maps, Misc. Genealogy Files, Places and Surnames. Places is further divided into folders for the U. S., Azore Islands, and other locations I research in and those are broken down further into states, etc.

My Surnames folder is where the real goodies are. I keep a folder for each surname I am researching. Within that folder are subfolders for names of the male in that line with additional subfolders as needed. For instance, I research Jones with subfolders for Charles Jones, Abraham Jones, etc. My file naming is very simple, as well...... It would be something like this: Abraham Jones, 1870 census.jpg; Abraham Jones-Hetty Cox marriage.jpg (I prefer file names be listed as given names first in each surname folder.)

An ancestor's early documents (before they marry) are kept in the folder of their parents ..... their birth, baptism, census as a single person, etc. After that person marries, I start a folder for him/her with their marriage record, birth of their children, census, etc.

I prefer to file a person's documents all together rather than have them scattered in various folders for cemetery, marriage, census documents, etc. as some folks do. Like I said, it is a very simple system, but it has served me well. There is no complicated numbering system but yet I can easily find any document that I need with just a couple of clicks.

i keep my photos, even gravestone photos, in Aperture. But, I have exported a copy of each photo I want to be included in the multimedia section of Reunion to the Pictures folder within my Reunion folder. I find that works better and I don't ever have to worry about Reunion losing the links to my images as you often do using iPhoto or Aperture every time Apple changes their type of database.

I'm happy with my system, although others I'm sure may find plenty of flaws in it. I found a way of doing this that I'm comfortable with and works well for me. We all have our own ways. The trick is to find your way and use it consistently for best results. Good luck!


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Share your organizing approach

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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