May 22 – Is your computer hard drive a mess? Look into software that organizes your documents, such as PaperPort http://shop.nuance.com/store/nuanceus/html/pbpage.paperport-chall1 or Clooz www.clooz.com
Before spending money on software that organizes your documents, read up on articles about organizing your hard drive as it relates to genealogy documents. You might find a software package such as one listed above very helpful. I found that once I develop a computer filing system such as a main file folder labeled “genealogy”. Then I have folders under that folder, labeled: Books, Charts, Database, Export, Forms, History, Import, Photos, Programs, Records, Research Trips, Templates, Timelines. then under the Photo Folder, I created more folders labeled: Family Portraits, Gravestones, Individual, Weddings. I can add more folders if I need to. The actual file name in each of the photo folders, list the family name, or individuals in the folder.
Under my records folder, I have divided it first into my three databases, my family, my husband’s family and my half-siblings family. Under each family I have the same folders of: Birth, Books, Census, Deaths, Immigration, Land, Marriages, Military Service, Newspaper Articles, Occupations, Wills and Estates. These folders are where I scan documents and store them in their proper folder by databases.
Also, under the Census folder I have more folders for each Census year. Then I store the proper census in the proper year. For example: the 1900 US Census from Courtland, Columbia Co, Wisconsin would be saved as: 1900USCensus_WI_Columbia_Courtland_pg5A.jpg. This way I can quickly verified that the proper census is in the correct folder and I have them sorted by state and county by the way I labeled the file.
My filing system allows me to quickly find my sources and documents. It took a little while to set up the system and I am sure there is room for improvement. However, the time I took to sort my files has saved me more time when I want to find file again.