Welcome to MRIN filing on steroids.
If you’re already using the MRIN Filing System I don’t need to convince you of anything. If you’re not, you’re doing something else entirely. Foot-long file names, color-coding, Dear Myrt’s coffee table binders, Marlo’s Heritage Collector Suite, or some other combination or permutation.
Filing systems are like religion. There’s plenty of them to go around and everyone thinks theirs is the best. At the Church of MRIN, we know we’re the best. When God created filing, He said, “Let there be numbers.” And so it was. And the world rejoiced.
Basically, the driving forces behind my organizational methods are 1.) to tie all paper and digital files together with my database, 2.) to make it dead simple to understand and 3.) to present the family history in a way that’s interesting enough someone else might care about the first two.
Whether someone else is ever going to care we really don’t have any control over. All we can do is set it up so there’s half a chance.
So, you’ve got your sources numbered by MRIN and linked to Legacy. What do you do with everything else? Your photos, your odd documents, your extra gravestone pics, your general riff-raff.
This is what I would suggest.
Make a folder for MRINs. Or it could be one for mother’s line, one for father’s. Whatever suits you. And sort all your digital files into it/them.
For instance, I create a sub-folder for MRIN 0106, (that’s my paternal 3rd great-grandparents) add 0106 to the beginning of a file or photo name, drag and drop it into folder 0106. Done. Move on to the next file. And the next MRIN.
You’ll end up with a folder that looks basically like this. The double numbers are multiple marriages that I keep together but they could be separate.
By the time I’m done here I might have only two other folders; Beeken Unknown and Baker Unknown. The close-but-no-cigar files.
Things this will not help you with:
- scanning all that paper that’s cluttering up your desk – (I’m sorry but you’ll have to set up your scanner.)
- documents that are sources and still need to be entered in your Source Library and database
- photo scanning and editing, IPTC-annotation and GPS – (Read Scanfest Follow-up for some basic concepts. Once you get this part done, you’ll also be able to search by captions, keywords, locations, sources, copyrights and GPS.)
You can do your filing two ways: fast or slow. You can tear through all your files and file them. Or you can mosey along filing some and stopping to edit or source others. It’s up to you. If you do it in Fast Mode and keel over tomorrow you can rest assured all your digital files are in their digital drawers and it’s a head-start for your lucky inheritor. In the meantime, it’ll work really well for you.
There are a few advantages to this filing system:
- It’s quick and easy.
- After you sort everything by number you’re done. You can take a break and go to the beach. Whenever you feel like it you can come back and edit a photo or file a source. Even if you don’t, you can still relax because your files are all in order.
- It will be very clear to someone else. As long as they understand the concept of MRIN, (and you’re going to explain that to them in your READ ME document) everything’s where it should be.
- When I’m working on a particular ‘tiddler’ in my wiki, or some other creative project, I can go directly to the MRIN folder and find the files that I need in one place.
- It’s very simple to search by these numbers to include the Source documents as well as the files in my wiki that are also pre-numbered by MRIN. Windows Search will bring up absolutely everything from everywhere in a nano-second.
And the files can be copied over to a temporary working folder.
That leaves photos of general places like cemeteries, schools and churches that belong to more than one family. I use these for color and decoration in Legacy. Totally voluntary. Where they’re being used for Master Sources they can have Master Source File ID numbers to keep them in sync with the paper version. i.e. cemetery listing with photo of cemetery. House photos can be source documents or they can be tossed into the appropriate MRIN folder to be used in other ways.
That’s it. Go forth and file.