Yesterday I talked about “The Road To Organization Starts“, in which I describe how I am initially setting up my filing system. I would compare this to the engine that will drive me to where I am going.
Today, I want to talk about my road map that will help me get to where I want to go without getting lost. It’s what I call the Document Key.
The Document Key is simply a text file that I am using to assist me in my filing of actual documents. If it is strange to use a numbering system, then I guess that will work well for me because I am kinda strange at times!
Why a numbering system? I have tried different ways of organizing throughout the years and, obviously, none of them have worked. The one I have tried that seemed to be the most effective was a numbering system. Maybe it is just the best way for ME to understand things, because I like working with numbers. For someone else, this might not be effective.
The system is based on the surnames of my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc… For example, my father would be 01 and my mother 02, therefore 01 will be used for documents relating to my Spangler research and 02 will be used for documents relating to my Forbes research. Obviously, when we drop back a generation we will not need to have another number for the males as that has already been covered. The next numbers would be for my grandmothers. 03 would be for my paternal grandmother so it will cover the Gamble research documents and 04 will be for my maternal grandmother so it will cover the Stevenson research documents. Then you just go back through your ancestors to develop your system.
What about the descendants of your second-great-grandfather Charles Beal? Well, that will obviously stay in the Beal surname research. His daughter, Adelaide, who married into the Forbes line will now fall into the Forbes category and her descendants will be in the numbering system of 02. Adelaide’s siblings and their descendants will continue to fall under the Beal research numbering system as they are not “direct” line ancestors.
Here’s how it might look in a folder containing Birth Records:
01 – David Isaac Spangler.jpg
02 – Patricia Ann Forbes.jpg
07 – Adelaide Eliza Beal.jpg (maternal 2nd-great grandmother 1)
30 – Cinderilla Sartor.jpg (maternal 3rd-great-grandmother 6)
Obviously this would be quite confusing to everyone if they didn’t know the system. I will learn it with use but by inserting the numbering system into my root folder of my research, anyone will be able to understand it.
By comparison, my wife has an aunt who did some research on her father’s side and she gave us all her research on 5 floppy disks. They contain tons of text files (264) named as such – 001LIGHTGL, 002LIGHTGL1, 003LIGHTGL2, etc… I have no idea how her numbering system works. When you open the text files, especially the higher numbers, you get something like this:
18.104.22.168.4.First Middle Maiden b:15 Sept.1943 Snyder
and the children are listed as:
22.214.171.124.4.1.First Middle Surname b: 6 July 1962
126.96.36.199.4.2.First Middle Surname b:14 Oct. 1964
I can figure out that the adding of the children added the 1 and 2 but what do the other numbers represent. This aunt has passed away and there is no file showing how this system is supposed to work. I suppose if I look at it long enough I could figure it all out but I just haven’t found the time. (Maybe it is going back 6 generations and it is child1 of the main light ancestor, that child’s 4th child, that’ child’s 7th child, that child’s 5 child, that child’s 4th child and that child’s first or second child?)
I guess the best thing about it is that even if I go back 10 generations I may end up with “1024 – 8th-Great-Grandmother’s Name & Surname.jpg” but at least I’ll know how that works! Wow, that sure is a lot of numbers. That’s just 10 generations back! Of course, who’s gonna be able to go 10 generations back without any gaps?
For now, that’s my system and I’m sticking to it!
Have a great day everyone,