Category Archives: Organizing Data

Prep Is Done, Time To Tackle Some More Scanning!

I just wanted to post that I have finally finished sorting through that big tote I had posted about last week.

Here’s a picture of how I have separated it:


This will enable me to tackle it a little at a time. There’s a stack of newspapers but I believe that there are about 6 of them that are the ones that contain my Mother’s obituary. I can just clip it out and dispose of the papers! :-)

I’m hoping to post a little about my progress soon! Until then, I wish you all good hunting and good health!

Have a great day,



whyIt’s kind of funny but I have had some folks who have questioned why I am scanning all these old cards, letters and other memorabilia.

Why? Are you serious!

Maybe I’m kind of strange but I don’t see why folks should ask “Why?”. I do these things because I am conserving these memories. Who knows what tomorrow holds? It was just this past Halloween that we had floods here and a lot of folks lost a lot of memories.

What about fires? Living in an apartment now I am not always in control of everything. What if a neighbor isn’t watching that pan and lets it catch on fire and doesn’t know how to put it out?

It’s also Texas, where there are a lot of tornadoes and such. There are a lot of things that can happen to destroy your precious memories. Would you want to lose everything?

To me, as I said, this makes perfect sense. Yes, it’s only important to me and my wife right now but someday my children may treasure these memories also. Just as I am so excited about a post card I found where my Dad had written on the back to my Mom, my kids may someday enjoy seeing the cards that my wife and I have exchanged over the years.

This stuff I am getting ready to scan is actually some old letters and cards that were exchanged between my Mom and my Aunt Rae and Aunt Ellen. There’s even a Christmas card that was written by Aunt Potsy, my grandfather’s 4th wife. I’m excited to see what all I will find in here.

I am conserving the memories of not only my life but also of my Mother and Father. I am hoping someday someone will appreciate that I took the time to do so.

We have the technology, why not use it?

Until next time,


I Just Thought It Was Over!

Well, I know I said in yesterday’s post that I was going to relax a bit and not scan but after today’s discovery I have to recant that statement! Just call me a flip-flopper! :-)

I’ve been focusing on some smaller plastic storage boxes I have. Today, I was going through a couple of larger “totes” I have. The first one was just some comforters and such that we have stored. The second did not look like much until I got past the first layer.

Now I think I will be busy for a while!

photo 1photo 2This is the tote I found today. As you can see it’s quite a big one!

This is the inside of it. There are certificates, cards, newspaper articles, genealogy stuff, old letters and even some pictures. There are even a couple of old Newsweek magazines from the first Iraq War. I even saw a genealogy book that isn’t even related to my research. I think it was my wife’s aunt’s husband’s family. :-)

So, I will start to organize this and figure out how I am going to scan it! Oh, and by the way, for those who remember it that orange bag you see, it’s an old Dallas Times Herald collection bag. My Sister gave me this when she was going through Mom’s stuff!

Here’s hoping everyone has a great weekend!


An Interesting Picture, For Sure!

Today I am continuing with my “attempt” at getting all my digital photos in some sort of order! I mentioned in a previous post that I had over 10,000 photos to sort through but I am discovering that I am way, way off!

The first folder I moved contained over 12,000 photos. I’m in for a lot of work, it seems!

I wanted to share a picture that I found with you all. It’s one of those strange pictures that you don’t know why you took or even why this certain situation occurred. I suspect that I took the picture because it was just so strange! Here it is:

Click for a larger image.

Click for a larger image.

It is very unusual to be walking through a large cemetery and look across the way and see a casket just sitting out on the ground, or at least it was for me. I don’t really know what was happening here but it was strange.

Well, that is it for today. I’m sure I will run across some more goodies as I continue this task. Wish me luck!








My Organizing System

Hello again everyone! :-)

Today I want to talk about my system of organizing my digital files. I thought that perhaps by sharing this system with you, you could offer up any of your suggestions or comments and help me to improve it! Before I go too far into it, I would like to show you some of my former systems and why I scrapped them.



When I originally began trying to organize my digital files, I thought it would be very useful to sort them by category. It made sense because if I needed a Birth Record, I always knew what folder it would be in.

I had used this system for a while before I started to discover the flaws in it. Though the information was able to be found fairly quickly, it would still be hard trying to go from one category to the next and build a grouping of data I had for just one individual. One other problem was how to separate, say, my Spanglers from my Stevensons.

After a few years, it became obvious that this system was not going to be the one I needed.

Deeply-Nested System

Once I realized that the “Category Filing System” was not going to work, I thought of a different way of doing things. I decided that the best way to do this was to just nest folders within other folders and carry on the hierarchy that way. In other words, have a file, for instance, named “Archibald Edelbert Forbes” and nest in that folder 5 more folders, one for each child.

I would then nest more folders inside the children’s folders which would hold the information for the grandchildren of Archibald. I had checked in Windows 7 and I could go, seemingly, forever with this system.

Imagine my surprise when I realized that there actually were limitation to this. Though I could go very deep in my folder structure, it seems there is a limit of 256 characters in a file name. This meant that the initial folder for Archibald took up so many of those characters and each subsequent folder below that took up more of those characters. After a while, you could create a folder but only have just one character to name it!

This system would not work either!


The system I am using at the moment came about without any planning. I had went through my Spangler Research folder and had made folders for everyone, just as described above. I then decided to start on my Stevenson Research and, without even thinking about it, I started to create folders called “1st-Generation”, “2nd-Generation”, “3rd-Generation” and so on and so on.

Once I had finished creating these and started to organize it, I realized that I might be on to something! I had essentially started a system that required me to go only 3 folders deep and yet it would contain everything neatly into those folders.

I must let you know that there are still some kinks I am working out here. I still encounter problems when I find that there are two, or more, people by the name of Mary Stevenson in the same generation. For the time being, I am fixing this by naming the folder something like “Mary Stevenson (GS)” and “Mary Stevenson (JS)”. What I am doing is adding the initials of who that Mary Stevenson belongs to at the end of the folder name. I know this is not the best way to do this but for the time being it seems to be working fine.

This system works so well that I have actually changed all my folders for my 4 main surnames to it. I’ve even began adding a separate folder for alternate surnames, such as when a great-grandmother’s line is researched. The best example would be what I have done with my “Forbes Research” folder. I have added sub-folders for “Beal Research” and for “Seeber Research” and within those folders I have added the generation naming system.

Will this work forever? I really can’t say. For the time being this system is working very good for me but who knows what my future needs will be?


I know from experience that what works great today can become a big hassle tomorrow. My current filing system is working great for me but in the next few months I may require more from it.

The way I have learned to look at this is that I have to be flexible. I have to be willing to adapt in order to make my system work for ME! I can’t look at everyone else’s system and try to copy it because everyone thinks differently.

If I find a better way, I will be sure to let you all know. Until then, I will continue with my “Generation System” and be happy!

Thanks for stopping by,