Sunday, 24 January 2016

Making Progress - Making Distractions



In this post I will discuss why I am not following the Organisational Prompts in the Get Organized challenge. 

What I am doing instead.  

The challenges this approach has had and how I have dealt with them.

FINALLY Get Organized challenge

This year I had intended to follow along with the weekly challenges set by DearMYRTLE in her FINALLY Get Organized prompts. 
Week 1 
I had previously done much of what was suggested, somewhat fortuitously, with the week coinciding with catching up at work after the Christmas and New Year breaks.
Week 2
This was where I started to see that the system being suggested was close to what I had previously tried. This way of organizing I had found to work for some of my digital files but not everything.
Organizing by family group works for items specific to that family but stumbles when previously unconnected groups collide. One example of this would be a group photograph at a wedding or a newspaper report of that same event.
I am trying to avoid duplicates of the records and have devised a modified version keeping the family group as a hub containing an index to the relevant documents and other media.

I have gradually realised that a key element in citation is being able to accurately pinpoint the provenance of the source. Whilst digital files can have this information embedded in the properties it is a greatly underused function. Most of the files just contain the filename for that computer and a date. Making use of this ability will take time so I have started with a quicker fix to ensuring the correct provenance is recorded.

The System

This is a screenshot of my system as it stands today

I discussed this system briefly in my featured earlier post.
The Media file in my Family Historian project has subfolders which I have colour coded using Folder Marker .

I have further subdivided the folder named Official Archives as shown below

I expect some of the folders will be moved, renamed or deleted as I decide the best place to use for those census images and other items I have downloaded. I need the flexibility at present that this system provides. I also want something that can be easily modified at a later date.

The process has been far from straightforward and I find myself having to go through earlier emails trying to discover who sent me pictures or documents. When I find the relevant email I have sent it to Evernote and added tags.

This has slowed down my folder organization but will pay dividends when I start to rebuild my tree as part of my Genealogy Go Over.

I did not create a research log when I started out so I am going to create one retrospectively from interviews, photographs, scans and correspondence to ensure the sources are correctly cited.
If I am unable to accurately date something I can no longer replicate, such as an interview with a deceased relative, I will date with a year range.

I am sure I will find other distractions to send me "off course" but hopefully most of them will help me attain my ultimate goal to get organised and digitised so I can find, analyse and preserve the history of our family. 

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

GenTools Study Group with DearMYRTLE and Cousin Russ 6th Jan 2016

Transcribing and Indexing Tools

I am not going to go into great detail in this post but just post a few links and suggestions to websites, programs or apps that may help with transcribing or indexing your aquisitions or finds be they digital or physical objects.
If you want to know more watching the hangout discussion should help or post a question in the DearMYRTLE community on Google+ or in her Facebook group or The Organized Genealogist Facebook group.

To make it easier to add to this list I am linking to a Google Sheet. A Google Sheet is similar to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and any other spreadsheet you may have used and can be in the cloud or on your computer or android device if you download the application. All you need is a Google account and internet access to set it up. Spreadsheets can be a very useful indexing tool and some of the programs that help with indexing are based on spreadsheets. 

If you know of any additions I can make please leave a comment below.
I will add anything which is mentioned in the hangout and include links to websites.

Photo: THIS is the link to REGISTER for the GenTools Study Group - 6 Jan 2016.  where you'll also find the calendar of upcoming events.

Noon Eastern US (New York) 11am Central US (Chicago) 10am Mountain US (Denver, Salt Lake City) 9am Pacific US (Los Angeles) If you need a time zone converter, this is the one Ol' Myrt uses: HERE are the scheduled topics for the balance of this study group:

Wednesday, 6 Jan 2016
Transcribing and Indexing Tools

Friday, 8 Jan 2016
Research Tools

Wednesday, 13 Jan 2016
Map Tools

Friday, 15 Jan 2016
Analysis Tools

Wednesday, 20 Jan 2016
Compiling Tools

Friday, 22 Jan 2016
Sharing Tools

This DearMYRTLE Hangout is presented at no cost. If you find the information useful, consider the Pay What You Want business model Ol' Myrt employs:

Now everyone can log in to VIEW and COMMENT on DearMYRTLE Hangouts. YUP! Log in with your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email or G+ account. You'll only need a G+ if you wish to JOIN the panel as an "official" participant.

COMMENTS before, during and after each hangout. The comments are right there with the video now that we're hosting them at:

We open the "green room" 15 minutes early if you'd like to test out your microphone and webcam. Consider JOINing the panel as an official "participant". We may even "scramble" to mix up the conversation a bit with new panelists.

ARCHIVED VERSION If you miss the live events, catch the archived version at your convenience. It's usually available within the hour after the live recording has concluded.

The video will also be archived on DearMYRTLE's YouTube Channel located here:

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Improving Digital Organisation

Why reorganise? 
  • I have difficulty finding what I am looking for on the computer and search doesn't always help find the file. 
  • I have too many duplicated files. 
  • I need to be able to go through everything systematically. 
  • I need to improve my citations. 
  • All the systems that I have tried in the past have failed.

Why have the previous systems not worked? 
  • Lack of consistency. 
  • Too complicated. 
  • Not set myself clear guide as to what goes where. 
  • Merging before checking the content.

What guidelines do I need for the new system to work?
  • The system needs to be simple. 
  • Use shortcuts if possible for file names. 
  • Ensure that the details are contained within the actual file rather than the name. 
  • Use tags.
  • File by provenance to help with citation. 
  • Move everything not in the new system to a holding area. In this area create a folder called To Do for anything that requires more work. 
  • Set realistic goals. Do the easy things first and get them right. It is not a race.

My new system
  • Family folders
    • Family Id Number as in my software program followed by ... then Last name and First name of the couple starting with husband. I will keep indexes. research logs and analysis documents here and anything which is specific to the family.
  • Official Archives
  • Personal Archives
    • Documents
      • Type of Document
    • Photographs
      • Folders labelled by author or if unknown who held them

I will discuss the system in more detail in another post as I am still finalising the details such as where I will put images that I have downloaded from places such as Ancestry and Find My Past.