Getting Organized #1: Software Data

This month let’s be dedicated to setting aside a few hours to get some things organized for the family tree. Who knows, maybe I’ll find a few things I overlooked when tucking the sources away!Getting Organized!

Family tree software has its own ways of getting disorganized compared to the paper piles on the desk. Here’s a few tips to help keep the data updates hassle free and in top shape.

  • Make a master example for citations. Probably one of the most dreadful parts of using software is differing format one causes when citing your sources. Use a good reference or two such as Evidence! or Evidence Explained or Quicksheets y Elizabeth Shown-Mills for examples of each source type.
  • Make a master genealogy folder on your hard drive. In this folder include individual folders by category i.e. photos, birth certificates, land records then further divide into family groups or by person. This will create easy attachment while working within the software and easier backups for your files.
  • Consider a standard naming system for each digital document you create from your sources. For instance, file names that are longer than eight characters can be tedious to browse and relocate later example: ClarkDPerchantBirthCertificate.tif. By giving each family member their own personal code each document with that code pertains to that person only. Example: Clark D. Perchant  has a birth certificate and his code is CDP. So I’ll mark this document as CDP1 and save the file as CDP1.tif and CDP1.jpg. Be sure to make a master list and include it in the person’s software file.
  • Have an incoming box for new source documents. File sorting trays that hang on your office door or sit on the desk can be labeled to help you remember what was added to the family software and what is ready to be filed. Setting several trays marked with the needed process you choose will move along the sources documents between the times you have to step away from your research. Some examples:
    • “IN” these are the new items located on your recent research trip.
    • “SOFTWARE” these items need to be scanned, cited, and attached to the individual(s) in question.
    • “RESEARCH LOG” these items should be noted in your  research log and dated.
    • “TO BE FILED” these items are done and ready to be filed for safe keepings.

Set aside a time each week or month to do some software housekeeping and you’ll always be ready for making current TO-DO lists for your research trips.

Happy Leaf’n!

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