Tag Archives: files

Setting an organisational deadline

3 May

I have decided that this month (May) I am going to get the family history folder on my hard drive organised. This won’t be at the expense of any new research, and if anything it will encourage more research as I try and tie up loose ends.

It doesn’t really require a huge amount of resources, just a bit of time and discipline. It will mainly involve renaming files (standardising) and updating Family Historian.

Most of my family history folders don’t contain a lot of files, they mainly have census images and other documents. They also contain what I would call scraps. These are small text files that I have used to quickly capture information that I have come across as I go about my research.

For example, whilst I might have been looking for a baptism record for an ancestor, I would probably encounter baptisms for their siblings as well. In my rush to continue tracing my ancestor I would just make a quick note of these other records and move on. Now it is time to make sure I have updated all these records in Family Historian and then delete these scraps.

I have under eighty folders now and most of these need very little work. The problem comes with some of the larger folders like the GASSONs, the TROWERs, the GEERINGs and the KINGHORNs. My plan is to get the smaller folders out of the way this week and then start tackling the larger ones the following week.

The other aspect I need to work on is my digital photos. All the photos I have taken are stored separately from my family history, and those that are related to family history are copied to the family history folder. This includes anything that might be used to illustrate my family history (such as churches, houses and streets) or is a piece of evidence itself (like gravestones).

I have four weeks to sort out my hard drive and if I actually stick to my plans I should be able to complete it in that time. Like getting rid of my paper folders, it will be good to sort out these files and have a system in place for dealing with information as I go along.

My genealogy to-do list for the week ahead (week 18)

2 May

I failed to achieve most of what I set out to do last week. I haven’t got in touch with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain about my GEERINGs and I didn’t create an “exit strategy” for my GEERING research either.

However, I don’t feel too disappointed because I got quite a bit of organising done on my hard drive. I was supposed to have been coming up with a schedule for sorting my files and folders, but instead I just dived straight in and got on with it.

I made quite a pleasing dent in the list of folders to sort and I am going to continue this week. I do have a sort of plan and would like to get my hard drive organisation completed by the end of May. I don’t see myself doing any new research this week, only dealing with stuff I already have.

  • Go through a dozen folders on my hard drive and sort out the contents, updating Family Historian and adding stuff to my to-do list.
  • Contact the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain about my GEERINGs to see if they might have some records for my research.
  • Define an “exit strategy” for my GEERING research, deciding how much more work I want to do on the family before moving on.
  • I didn’t get around to tidying up my computer desk and the spare bedroom, so I must to that this week.

A backup wake-up call

30 Jan

Last night I received a nasty reminder from my computer on the importance of having a good backup.

It was around 10 o’clock and I had just finished working on my family history for the night and started my nightly backup routine. I synchronised my family history files to my USB flash drive, my grab and run emergency backup (and netbook synchroniser).

I started the synchronisation to my external hard drive and was met with a couple of error messages, to the effect that the external hard drive didn’t exist. Surely there must be some mistake, I thought, it had probably been assigned the wrong drive letter.

I opened Windows Explorer and there it was, with the correct drive letter and it looked like all the folders were there. As I drilled down I found each folder was in fact empty. All my files had gone.

I stopped and thought about it, this was my backup, I still had the original files on my PC and my USB flash drive. There were a few non-genealogy files lost that didn’t really matter, but the external hard drive stores all my digital photos. Fortunately they are all backed up on DVD and stored off-site, so I hadn’t lost anything important, it would just be annoying to have to replace the external hard drive and start again.

But something still didn’t seem right, surely the files couldn’t just disappear and leave the folders where they are, that didn’t sound like hard drive failure? The more I thought about it the more it didn’t seem right. Something told my they were still there but I couldn’t see them.

So I did the most obvious thing and rebooted my PC. Of course when the system came back up all the files were there present and correct. I ran my backups successfully and shut the system down.

Does this mean my external hard drive is on the way out or is my PC getting it’s USB connections confused? I don’t know, but it sure made me stop and think. I would consider my backup regime pretty good, but those few minutes of lost data really made me wonder if it would all work if I had to restore my files.

Not only am I going to give my external hard drive a thorough going over, I am going to review what is actual stored on it. I shall probably burn a couple more copies of my digital photos and hide them away somewhere else. Truth is I can probably delete a load of those photos, just because I have the space to store them isn’t an excuse for not going through and deleting the rubbish.

My genealogy to-do list for the week ahead (week 3)

17 Jan

I have the feeling that I am achieving very little with my family history at the moment, and I am not really sure why. It could be because a large part of my time is spent looking for work, but I think there is another reason.

I am feeling rather unorganised at the moment. I don’t seem to have a clear idea of what I want to do with my genealogy, well that is not exactly true, I know what I want to achieve and know what I need to do to achieve it. The problem seems to be knowing where to start first.

It seems that everything I do creates more and more potential work for me, I knew a detailed look at the 1911 census would raise more questions, but the recently arrived birth, marriage and death certificates have also provided more questions than answers.

This week I need to sit down and get myself organised. I need to decide what are my main priorities and what I need to do to get as many loose ends tied up as possible, even if that just means recording what I want to do next and creating a big to do list.

  • I need to try and stop researching for a week and just focus on what I already have.
  • Create a simple to-do list and record everything I need or want to do for all my ancestors who are currently shouting for my attention.
  • Start working on my digital files, making sure everything is organised and entered into my Family Historian software.
  • Decide what my priorities are for my research and make sure nothing else is going to get in my way from achieving them.

Unless anyone releases any new databases online I should be able to avoid the distractions this week. The only other thing that might get in the way is a copy of the will of Mercy TROWER, that might arrive this week.

Is there no end to this filing?

22 Aug

I think one weekend is definitely not going to be long enough to get all my folders organised, admittedly I didn’t get started quite as early as I had planned but there seems an almost never ending pile of papers to shift through.

I am taking a quick break from the organising to sit in the garden and get away from the computer and the piles of paper. The sun is slowly disappearing, it hasn’t been that hot for most of the day, but it is still nice to feel the warmth of the evening sun on me.

I am in the middle of entering extracts from various directories into a spreadsheet. I’m not sure when I extracted these, some time last year I think. Having them on a spreadsheet is going to make them much more accessible, and who knows eventually I might get around to using them in my family history.

The pile of scrap paper is growing rapidly and my hard drive is filling up, although I am finding that a lot of the stuff I am going through is already on the computer in one way or another. I am adding notes to my to do list, so eventually I will come back to my hard drive and sort through all the stuff that is on there as well.

Anyway time to get back to the organising, and I need to keep reminding myself that my research will be so much easier when it is all sorted.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 118 other followers

%d bloggers like this: