How I Organized My Genealogy Paperwork (or How I spent my summer vacation!)

6 Responses

  1. Jasia says:

    This sounds like a wonderful system. I had no problem following your logic. My problem is that a huge chunk of my genealogy collection (I'd guess 70% or more) is digital and only exists on my hard drives and in various different formats to boot. How I wish I'd thought ahead and come up with an organizing system when I was first starting out. At this point to go back and rename every digital file would be nearly impossible.

    I envy you your organization!

  2. Jud Wooters says:

    I'm in the same boat as Jasia, and have a system that works pretty well for me.

    I have sectioned off each grandfather in my and my wife's family as family groups. Then, within those groups, I have folders labeled by RINs for each individual. Inside of each folder is a digital copy of the document that contains genealogical information about them. This means that sometimes I've got 15 copies of one digital image. Prior to cheap hard-drive space, this would have been a real hassle.

    I created an Excel database with some VBA coding that maps the folder structure and keeps track of what images are in what folder. I can just push a button to reconcile what's listed in my Excel spreadsheet and what actually exists in the folders. Excel creates the individual folders and copies or deletes images out of them automatically.

    I use Legacy as my Genealogy software, which is built on an Access database, so the data can be accessed from outside programs. I wrote SQL that queries the underlying Legacy database and pulls the filenames of all the images associated to individuals in my database.

    Each of these pieces are, right now, still a bit jerry-rigged together, but it makes maintaining my sourcing and image repository very easy. I plan to put all the coding together soon so that my Excel database is actually updated by Legacy and folder structures are self maintained (no more entering information even into Excel).

  3. Jasia says:

    Wow, Jud! That's awesome. And that's a lot of coding knowledge and talent on your part. Me, I'm allergic to coding. I try to avoid it as much as possible 😉

    I do like your reasoning about having umpteen copies of a given document since hard drive space is so relatively inexpensive. I've been trying to avoid all that redundancy but maybe I should just embrace it instead.

    Good food for thought.


  4. Jud Wooters says:

    I finally just finished the program. I push a button and it updates all individuals and sources in the spreadsheet from the Legacy database. Then, I push another button and it reconciles all the images in the RIN labeled folders.

    I wonder if the Legacy folks would be interested in a tool like this for users. Would be an easy addin (just skip the Excel spreadsheet and do it from Legacy). If there were a better way to organize images I'd love to hear about it.

  5. Mavis says:

    A few years ago I came off of a very extended research break. Since doing so, the one thing I've struggled with the most is the organization.

    You're right, I need to come up with a plan that works for me and just sit down and do it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I really appreciate your suggestions. They have been so helpful! But more than that, it gave me 'permission' to do it differently from the norm, and to find a method that actually works for me and my goals. I can't thank you enough!! 🙂

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