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.