Thursday, January 30, 2014

Keeping Your Leaves in Order... File Naming

I guess you can say I am like everyone else, where I create New Year Resolution. My Resolution for Genealogy this year is organizing my files.  I like to think of myself as a Digital Genealogist. I do almost all my research from home and even if I do run to a courthouse or the library, I always convert my findings into a digital format.  However I never figured out a good file naming scheme, which makes looking at my files difficult, especially trying to sort out duplicates.  I asked and searched but couldn't find something that made sense to me. Finally I found a system that Natalie Cottrill from ProGenealogist shared in her blog Computer Tricks 3 – Naming Electronic Files, and so far it has been great.

This is Natalie's system:

 "[surname (or) maiden surname][first name][middle name][birthyear]
[date of event or date document created][event or document name]"  

It's really nice, after you put the name in, the birth year takes care of multiple generations using the same, so you shouldn't have a problem with all those John Smith's in your tree.  I use the Head of the Household to name the census which has really cleared up my census pages.

After that the computer takes care of the organizing for you.

"...they will end up automatically sorted by the operating system alphabetically by name 
and then chronologically by date of birth and then chronologically again by date of event."

It doesn't get better then that, now I just have to go and rename all my files, which is going to take some time. When its all said and done its going to be so easy to find all my files. Even now you can see the story of someones life just from the thumbnails.

Monday, January 13, 2014

What's Your Number

I am feeding this off another blog Genea-Musings who posted this post called What's Your Number.  The premise behind this is to look at the numbers and gauge where you are at discovering your ancestors.

Here is the formula, first there is you, then two parents and they each had two parents, so as you go up to the next generation your number doubles.  Going off Genea-Musings post, I went back 10 generations which when you add it all together means you are searching for 1,023 people including yourself.  Then figuring who you have discovered over the ten generations you divide them from the number of possible people and that lets your know the percentage of family members you have discovered.

So below are my numbers, I was kind of shocked, not that I thought I was reaching the end but how little I have actually discovered.  I usually stop researching a branch once I've figure out who the immigrant to the United States is, mainly because there its tons to discover on this side of the pond and I haven't started paying for an international subscription to  I will have to post later if I ever do the math of the number of discovering the American families and don't count it against me if I stopped researching.

This sure seems like a lot of people and to think that ten generations is only about 300 years.  I guess I have plenty more searching to work on, it's at least good knowing where you stand, right!!!   Will have to keep this post going each year and see how the numbers grow.