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Member Since 23 Oct 2011
Offline Last Active Sep 10 2015 10:47 PM

Topics I've Started

Organisation Systems

10 November 2011 - 10:21 AM

One of my biggest headaches when I set out in this hobby was organising my files. So, after a number of false starts I eventually came up with the following system. I am starting this topic as I know others have issues here (as I have heard it from other amateur genealogists. Would be interested in knowing what others do.

My own filing/organising system is similar to Dollarhide. Each person or document is assigned a three part unique reference ‘number’ that consists of 8 or 9 alpha-numeric characters. The first part is the series of the document or person (3 characters). The second portion is a sequential 3 digit number for that series, and the last part is either 2 or 3 characters that will denote location (i.e. ON for Ontario, NTH for Northamptonshire, CW for Canada West, etc.) or family (for interviews, family group sheets, etc.).

For individuals I use the first three characters of the surname, for persons having a surname of Mc, Mac, o’, Van, Du, etc. I use the more unique portion of the name, that being the major portion, i.e. McRae would be RAE, VanKoughnett is KOU. Following that is the three digit sequential number for that series.
As for documents I use the following series;
BTH – Birth
MRG – Marriage
DTH – Death
CEN – Census
IMM – Immigration/Emmigration
WIL – Wills & Testaments
GRV – Gravestones
MEM – Memorial Cards (Be this for birth, marriage or deaths)
OBT – Obituaries
FAM – Family Group Sheets
INT – Interview Transcripts
IND – Individual Record Sheets
NEW – News Articles
WEB – Web Sites

Sequential numbers are not tied to date or any other significant aspect. To do such would create a numbering system that would have to be constantly adjusted and re-adjusted as people are added as they are found and/or proven. Basically, I add the number as it is being entered into Clooz and subsequently RM.

Furthermore I only assign reference numbers to individuals once a document is associated to that person or family. Be it a BMD certificate, census or other official document, or should an interview take place mentioning the person, or a family record sheet be created by a person having firsthand knowledge (i.e. immediate family members). If there is no corroborating evidence for a person then no reference number will be assigned. This also helps when going through the database, as I can tell quickly what names need at least some sort of evidence as to their relationship to the family tree

As for the actual copy of the documents, I have a digital copy of everything and they are stored on my hard drive as well as a back-up drive. Names for the digital copies associate with the document number. A hard copy of each item is placed in the file for that family as that is how I group my filing. Files are labelled using the reference number of the primary followed by the spouse (should there be one). Furthermore a file is only created for an individual should they maintain the age of 19 or be married. For persons who are mentally infirm, die before reaching the age of majority or stillborn their documentation shall remain in the parents file. I will attach a label to the front of the file folder for all persons just mentioned. Subsequent marriages are also left in the same folder with a label again placed on the front to show the marriage.

Originals are stored in sheet protectors and labelled on the front of the sheet holder and then placed into binders. I do not qualify electronic documents from sites such as ancestry.com and the like as originals. Originals are documents I have acquired during the course of my research, such as the family bible (transcripts), family group sheets filled out by cousins, BMD certificates I have received either from family members or from a governmental body. Or little things like the memorial cards from family funerals, invitations to weddings, the tags from those little thank-you’s at weddings, etc. Lastly transcripts from interviews I also consider an original document.

Some final words of advice, decide upon your filing/organisation system right away and stick to it. There is nothing more annoying than having to redo all the work put into the organisation/storage system you have created. Make sure that what you decide upon is workable for you and that is not overly burdensome. Also when using labels, consider using the removable labels from Avery as they are great for having to be replaced if necessary. Lastly do not attach a label to an original document, rather place the label on the sheet protector.

Improved Surity/Proof Levels

27 October 2011 - 05:57 AM

In other genealogy software's there are what I would refer to as more robust surety documenting of evidence for sources and information for the individuals and events recorded in the software. Currently you have the source, information and evidence section, which I find somewhat useful. However the proof dropdown list I find somewhat lacking/lacklustre. I used to have a 1-5 rating on all sources which stipulated the level of surety I had in the evidence for the event in question. This was done in a former software package in such a manner that I could edit/adjust it to my liking (not having to use all 5 levels and the tags per level were of my own devising).

Furthermore the ability to print off the surety information was an option on the print dialogue box for various documents. This would help when looking at the family group sheet for example as to how well the information is regarded when reviewing the documents at a later date. Being able to print off all that information or to just be able t review it from a report would go a long way to helping the process of collecting information as well as supporting information as we could know with just a few clicks as to what was needed for what event/person.

County Level View

26 October 2011 - 04:51 PM

I just installed this software that I purchased sometime ago as I resurrected my work on the family genealogy project. I am based in Canada and my ancestors go back almost to the founding of the North American colonies by both France and England. I was under the impression that the software would display county level information. I have noticed that I can see counties in many other countries. Being a resident of Canada I know for a fact that there are counties here and was wondering if it is a issue with my software or something else. Is anyone aware of this and know what is going on?

Thank-you in advance for any of your responses

edit: please forgive the double posting... for some reason Google Chrome was telling me the posts were timing out