Genealogy Wise

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I constantly stuggle with file naming formats for files stored on my computer. How do you name your files? How do you organized your files on your hard drive? I would like to come up with a standardized format for typical records: census, military, birth, death, marriage, etc. Then I want to document the formats in a cheat sheet so I can easily use it every time I save a record. What's everyone doing?

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I am trying to keep mine simple and, at this point, I am able to do so. I have a folder in "Documents" called "Family History." In that folders are sub folders. There is a sub folder for each surname. Everything for that surname goes in that folder. At some point I am sure I will have to create sub folders for each surname folder. Right now, I don't have enough files to justify that. I could make a sub folder for census, death, marriage, and whatever else.

I am a new member on this site and I am looking forward to exchanging info with members. This site looks great!
Carolina I have sorta the same process. I have a file labeled Family Photos. Within that file I have various Surname Foldiers and their photos filed accordingliny. I have another file for Family Documents and it to is divided into names. I then have that file broken down into Document Types such as Census Records, Marriage Licence, Birth Records and so on. I have a file strictly for Misc information that I dont know where to put it right now. However, at some point, I need some form of written documentation as to the list of information I have so I can cite it properly. Any suggestions on this part of this process?
My file structure is similar to what you and Carolina Girl are describing. My Documents --->Genealogy--->Surnames--->Cook (for example)--->(Then files for event, i.e birth, marriage, death).

I start to run into trouble naming the individual files. For example, I name census records like this: George Cook Household - 1930 US Census.jpg. The person named is the head of household. Some problems. I don't create a copy of the document for every family member so if I need info on a child it can be hard to find the file. Also, the files are alphabetized by first name. It just seems someone would have standardized by now.
Photos are a whole different problem. Lets say I have 10 photos of my grandmother. Some of these 10 photos also picture other relatives. How do you name the photo? I might use Esther Cook 1.jpg, Esther Cook 2.jpg, etc but what about Aunt Jean who is in some of the pictures?
Good question. What if you use the "save as" command. Take Esther Cook 1.jpg and "save as" "Aunt Jean 1" and then you would have two files of the same photo - one named "Esther Cook 1" and another named "Aunt Jean 1." The same photo but with different names.

Is this making it too complicated?
I am afraid that I am not even as organized as all of you on the computer. I have certain folders (i.e., Carey gravesites), but I need to put them into family folders. On my to do list. However, I have just developed an excel sheet to check off my sources. I would suggest you start such a spreadsheet to put at the head of each of your folders. You could do a sheet for each of your families. Columns could include birth, marriage, death, military, medical, education, etc. A separate worksheet could include a column for each year of Federal Census and possibly an extra column to mark if there are state census.

These snow days are good to figure out some ways to organize:)

Good topic!
my genealogy file on my computer is labeled genealogy master. Then I have a sub folder for each surname. Within each surname folder the is a separate folder for census images, vital records, obituaries, photos etc. When I name an actual file, if it pertains to a specific person, I give it a very detailed name. For example.....a birth certificate would be Chauncey F Perry - Birth Certificate - Lenawee Co MI
I'm in the same quandary. I use Legacy but still want a filing system in windows that makes sense to me. At the moment I have, for instance, all death certs in one folder. I name them by last name first, then givens...then date (2010-11-13)....and that automatically puts all that person's files together and they're with family members.
Now, I'd like to start putting them in family groups with all pertinant documents....BUT, how do I deal with the wife's family members? Do I do sub-folders or start brand new family folders? I've been searching for answers for a year now and still can't find a solution that suits me. Thanks for any input!
Sally Miller Hindley

I use the system for my paper files with some variations.  I pretty much apply the same system to my digital files.  


With that said, to answer your question "BUT, how do I deal with the wife's family members?", a wife stays with her parents until she marries.  That actually applies to both man and wife.  Once a couple marries, they get their own folder.  For me that is paper file folder and computer file folder.  That couple having their own folder continues with all of their children until those children marry and the cycle continues.  Normally the first document filed in the new couple's folder is their marriage license.



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