Genealogy Do-Over Week 10 part 2 – Organizing Research Materials – Digital

This weeks Genealogy Do-Over Topics are:

Organizing Research Materials – Digital

Be Aware of Changing Technologies! The first thing that Thomas MacEntee talks about is how technology can change and your data can become obsolete. They call it the digital Dark Age. Do you have photos on old floppy disks that are no longer supported? I guess the message here, is to make sure you keep up with current technology.  Transfer your old data into new mediums and formats as they change.  I’m going to be printing my important photo’s.

Pick a File Naming Convention and Stick With It! Thomas recommends you pick a file naming standard and stick with it. He uses last name-firstname-middlename-b [birthyear]-document name.  This works for him and could work for me, too for documents. I do use maiden names for females, which Thomas also recommends.

But, for photo’s, I tended to put the names of the people in the picture in the order they are in it, date if known, place if known. I think my naming convention works for me, but the filing of the pictures does not.

Although my documents folder is in really good shape, my Pictures folder is mostly organized by date. Over the last couple of years, I have made directories with Year Month and put all photos taken during those times in that folder. If it’s for a trip, I’ll use Year Month – place traveled to. I have also done the same with scanned photo’s, e.g. 2015 Mar Photos scanned from Aunt Sally (for example). However, this does not make them easy to find.

Since starting the Do-Over, I have been placing copies of photo’s I’ve used for my stories and posts into a directory called photos under the surname in my Documents/Ancestry/ Surname/ files. I am leaving the original files under the original directories and not changing them in order to preserve the quality of my JPEG files.

Let’s talk MetaData!

Digital files are just that, they are digital. Most of them already come with some MetaData.  You can easily edit the MetaData.  I am going to start editing any documents and photo’s I publish or share to include the correct copyright, names of people in the photo’s, places of the photo, and even add source citations. A big lofty goal, for sure.

To easily add MetaData to documents in Windows:

  • right click on the document in the file manager
  • click on Properties
  • click on the display tab
  • you can edit many fields, add fields, etc.

To easily add MetaData to iMac:

  • Click on the document in the Finder
  • Click on Command I
  • Add your MetaData in the comments field.

I use a Mac and don’t care for the finder option, so I installed Exifchanger (found in the Apple Store for About $10.00). This works better for me.


The Genealogy Do-Over journey is a 13 week challenge from Thomas MacEntee, of GeneaBloggers.

Pat Burns. Copyright © 2017. All Rights Reserved.

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