Sunday, January 31, 2016

Finally Get Organized! - Week 3

DearMyrtle warns us that “This Week has a mighty big assignment” – see her complete blog at

Step 1 – Transcribe every document you’ve collected on the first 4-four generations in your surname/maiden name binder. If this was the only step, this would be still a big assignment. I do believe in transcribing every document even though I haven’t done this always in the past. Not having to re-figure out handwriting every time you re-access a document is handy. I also find that when you transcribe the document, you find many more hints because you have to type and read every word. I had transcribed portions of documents before, for example: I have typed each line from a Census record and record it as part of the citation comment field for the individual. Transcribing my documents are going to take me more than one week, I plan on making a list of all the documents in each of my surname folders (one for each generation). I can leave that checklist on my desk and check off each document as it gets done. I plan on spending about an hour each day doing this task until they are done. I find if I do this first, when I am fresh and limit myself to only an hour each day, I will get the best results and not rush through the task and make errors.

Step 2 – Refile each document in the Surname/Maiden name binder.  All my documents are already filed in my surname folders. However, unlike Ol’ Myrt, I don’t file my digital files by surname. However, I do see the advantage of filing by surname. I originally started filing my documents by type, especially census records, where multiple families could be found on the same page of a census page.

While Ol’ Myrt gave the following examples as her naming convention
  • 1918FROMAN_Lowell_WWI_USDraftRegistration_1185_A780
  • 1925FROMANLowell_GOERING_MarriageApplication_JacksonMissouri_A16869
  • 1925FROMANLowell_Goering_Marriage Certificate_JacksonMissouri_A16869
  • 1930FROMANLowell_Census_WashingtonChelanWenatcheeDistrict46Page29

I have used similar naming conventions for the first three, but for census records I differ. My naming convention would be…

I use the underscore between each location, because I find it easier for me to find what I am looking for.

My files are stored in sub-folders under my genealogy folder, as follows:
  • Genealogy/Records/Vital Records/Marriage
  • Genealogy/Records/Vital Records/Birth
  • Genealogy/Records/Military/WWI
  • Genealogy/Records/Census/1930

However, as I have been working on certain surnames, I have started a surname folder under the Genealogy folder.  I have a genealogy friend that files by generation under the surname folder. Generation one is the first person who is in your family with that surname. Since we are working on our birth surname, generation one would be ourselves, generation two our father, three our grandfather, and four our great-grandfather.

Ol’ Myrt is trying to achieve the following:
  • transcribed word for word
  • cited to include where the original document was located at the time you obtained the copy.
  • attached to each person mentioned in the document within your genealogy management program.
  • filed in the binder where the person is a child if the document is about his childhood) or behind the family group sheet where he is married if the document is about his time after marriage.
  • filed digitally in his surname folder on my hard drive

Her goal is to have the binders read like a coffee table book and that our digital drives must be organized in the same manner for consistency. This is an excellent point, and now I am rethinking my digital file system. Consistency is the key to everything. Since we are doing a lot of this for the non-genealogists in our family, especially those who might find our work after we are gone, they need to see the importance of our work.

Good thing for me, that moving the location of a digital file is as easy as moving a paper document to a different folder. 

Back to work to Finally Get Organized!

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