5 Tips for organising documents and pictures.

I recently had to change the way I save my documents and pictures to my computer!  I found a convict ancestor and he had multiples of the same document, but they were all different years, and lots of documents to save.  So I had to come up with a system that means I can find what I want, and sort them easily. I hope it works for you.   Here is what I did:

1. Save all your documents as .jpg if you possibly can. 

 Jpeg files can be relatively small in size, but they still look crisp and beautiful. Jpegs support up to 16.7 million colors, which makes them the right choice for complex images and photographs.

2.  Save under Surname folders

I use the Surname of the oldest person in a photo or document (like a census), and always the Maiden name of a woman.  For marriages, the surname of the husband.  So I have folders that look like this:

3. Then save inside the surname folder using First Name and YOB

This allows you to work out which William you are after!  (example: William 1881, William 1900)

4. Label each document using the year first.

This allows for multiples of the same document, but they will be filed in year order - brilliant when you are trying to find something.  What you name the document can vary, I must admit I am not that consistent.  Use whatever works for you.  I used to put the name of the person first, but have abandoned this by filing it under their name.

5. Label the page number

Most important when you have multiple pages of the same document.

So, when I save a document I save it as follows:
  1. Surname folder
  2. First name folder YOB if needed
  3. Year
  4. Page number
  5. Document name
  6. .jpg
 My most recent saves look like this:

..........Bates Folder
..................Thomas b1766 Folder

As you can tell, I am not perfect - I don't save everything perfectly every time.  But I am trying to become consistent.  Slowly I am going to move every document to this system but it will take time.

Here is another tip:  I use a free little program called Folder Marker to colour code my folders, I code the one I am working on at any given time in white, and my most used folders in other colours.  This makes it soooooo easy to find people quickly.


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