Ruth's Genealogy

“I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.” -Abraham Lincoln

I’ve seen quite a few posts lately around Facebook where different folks explain their system for organizing their genealogical data on their computer. Some look pretty simple while others might require an advanced degree to implement. So I thought I’d just join in and share my system.

Step 1: One master folder on my desktop, down in the corner, away from other files:


Step 2: The contents of the master folder:

  • Misc – stuff like research forms and pdf files (My RootsMagic 7 manual!)
  • RootsMagic Backups – in a separate folder from my RootsMagic Databases (all are also backed up to the cloud in my OneDrive folder)
  • SURNAMES – the good stuff!
  • Websites – files for my genealogy websites


Step 3: The contents of a SURNAME folder. Each SURNAME gets it’s own master folder, then the individual gets his/her own folder. Here is my Rogers family:


Step 4: The files in my grandmother’s folder:

(Note the naming scheme: SURNAMEGivenName_b(irth year)_document/image year, description)


This method is simple and logical: data is organized by surname then individual, files are all named and appear in chronological order of event. Copy and paste the first part of the file name (name, birth year) and then fill in the specific data. My grandfather’s folder has 120 files and it took about 20 minutes to rename them all.

From here I go to my RootsMagic program and start plugging the data into the individual’s page. But you gotta rename the files first; otherwise you’re hunting and pecking all night!

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