I have always complained that I don’t have enough time to work on my genealogy the way I would like. Things fall behind, tasks get put off, but now that my family is at home practicing social distancing, I have had a lot of time on my hands.
One task I have been wanting to tackle is a genealogy spring cleaning. I needed to re-organizing my digital files so that work better with the genealogy program that I use (Legacy Family Tree). In one afternoon, I was able to re-organize all of the genealogy files that are on my laptop and start scanning new items to add to the files.
Here is how I re-organized.
RIN or Record Identification Number
When you are using a program like Legacy Family Tree, as you add your family member’s information to your tree, the program assigns each person a number. This RIN or record identification number is assigned in the order in which you add a person. So if you add Jane Doe first, Jane will be number 1. If Silas Doe is the 50th person you add, he will be number 50.
Each person you add to your tree gets a unique number and it is with these numbers that we are going to organize.
Organizing Genealogy Digital Files
I started by making a copy of my original set of genealogy folders and files. I did this so that anything media files that are attached to my Legacy Family Tree program would not be disturbed and would stay linked.
I then made a completely new folder and named it Genealogy RIN Files and opened the folder. This is where I added my individual people files, naming them as follows:
- 1 Doe, Jane
- 2 Doe, John
- 3 Doe, Edgar
- 4 Doe, Ellen
You don’t even have to start with the number one. I started with the person I had the most documentation for in the copy of my original files, found their RIN, created a file using their RIN and name, and then cut and paste their documents from the copy of the files I made. By cutting and pasting from the copied files, you can also see when you have finished transferring a persons info to the new organization system. When the copied files were empty, I was done.
Then, once the system was set up, I went into the Legacy Family Tree program and re-linked the media to the new folders and files.
It did take a bit of time, but not nearly as long as I thought it would. I had the new system in place in the matter of one afternoon and have been adding to it ever since. If I find documentation on a person I haven’t made a file for yet, I just find their RIN and create their file. The amazing thing about this system is it is easily searchable as you can search your folders by name or RIN.
Digitizing Small Books
Another problem I was having was that I have a few very old family history books that I feel extremely guilty when I have to handle them. I decided to digitize them so that I could look at them on my laptop instead of having to handle the original book itself. My problem was that I do not have a document program like Adobe Acrobat, and I did not want to spend money on the cost of the program. After searching my computer for every document program I could possibly own, I came across the scanning software that came with my HP printer/scanner/copier.
With this software I could scan the book and add pages as I went then save the whole document as a PDF. When you open the PDF file in a PDF viewer, it can be viewed as a book with multiple pages that you scan scroll or flip through. The only problem I found with this is that you cannot close out the program and continue the same scans later. You really need to be able to scan it all in one sitting, but in a pinch this worked nicely. Just remember to save often.
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