Yo! MRIN Filers | Another MRIN Filing System Tip

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.

In the process of taking inventory, I fell into another idea for how to expand on MRIN filing.

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.

MRIN Filing

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.

Windows Search

And the files can be copied over to a temporary working folder.

Windows Search

In regards to more complex searches, as I recall, Windows XP searches keywords embedded in photos. Windows 7 appears not to. But there are other ways of doing that, using GeoSetter or XnView.

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.

8 thoughts on “Yo! MRIN Filers | Another MRIN Filing System Tip

    1. JL Post author

      In the case of 0001 and 0001s, the ‘s’ refers to the original scan because I don’t edit original scans.

      ‘b’ would mean there’s a second version of the edited copy. In a few cases I could see various styles possible and couldn’t make up my mind.

      When I dumped all my pictures from all over the place into the MRIN folders I got a mixed bag of file names. I haven’t done anything about that yet, and may never. It’s not that important but, when I’m struck by my next impulse to organize, file naming will probably go something like: MRIN year-sequential number or MRIN familyname-sequential number. Dates don’t fit every kind of photo or document. My filing is more MRIN and IPTC dependent. Dates are of lesser priority.

  1. Wendy Lavender

    Had been resisting MRIN filing since I read Organising Your Papers years ago, finally took the plunge a couple of months ago.

    Now, I went looking for the feature in Legacy to auto enter the MRIN in the User ID field but it still isn’t there. I saw your post on LegacyUserGroup and didn’t know if you’d found your solution yet. I found LTools written by Dennis Kowallek, a Legacy user, his software addresses a lot of little stuff that the Legacy writers haven’t gotten around to. The Deluxe version ($10.95US) will put the MRIN in the User ID field with any prefix you want. Plus it does a lotta other cool stuff. http://zippersoftware.com/wp/

    MRIN filing is the way to go and I like your suggestion above about filing all the other gear under the MRIN. Will have a go at that, after I learn how to use Dreamweaver 😉

    1. JL Post author

      I’ve had LTools for quite awhile and found the fix there. It isn’t necessary to put a suffix or prefix along with the MRIN which is what hung me up the first time I looked at it. It will put just the MRINs which is what I wanted.

      Making a folder of MRIN sub-folders was the breakthrough I needed to tidy up. Finally. Another case of the ‘obvious’ being the hardest to see. Inspired by other bloggers crying about constant disorganization, what I’ve been trying to get to is a place where I can leave it for months or years, or pass it on to someone else, and/or keep collecting stuff at random and have everything be in a state that’s half-way to anywhere or nowhere (our chronic malaise) and still be 100% OK just as it is. Tall order but I think I got it.

  2. Wendy Lavender

    It’s your fault I’m getting sidetracked from my Dreamweaver tutorials..what the heck, they’re putting me to sleep anyways.

    I’ve just had a look in my Genealogy drive at all the different folder/subfolders I have for photos, docs. gedcoms etc etc blah blah and I can see how all or most of this mess can go into one folder with subfolders under MRINs! This really appeals to the Virgo annoyance that keeps me looking for the “ideal” system!
    Probably one concession would be my English Census, I still like to have them by years but they can have subfolders by MRIN to be able to find the families quicker.

    It seems so easy that I bet you’re wondering why you didn’t pick up on it earlier, I have an excuse, I’m stupid 😉

    1. JL Post author

      I did wonder why I didn’t pick up on it sooner. Everything else is filed by MRIN. What had me confused? Space-cadet trumps ‘stupid’?

      Here’s my guess on the ‘Virgo thing’ and if I had poll software I’d take a poll – I’m betting most or a lot of genealogists are Virgo’s because who else could stand this kind of tedium? And even delight in it.

      P.S. My census records are under SOURCES so they’re not an issue.

  3. Wendy Lavender

    The thought of creating all those folders sat me back on the chair for a tad. Google is a wonderful thing, found NEW FOLDER WIZARD and created a basic lot for all MRINs in a blink. Now I just have to rename and move all my files, haven’t found software to do all that yet although BULK RENAME UTILITY comes close.

    I’m betting a lot of Virgo Genealogists spend 50%, no 70% of their time re-organising their filing system.

    1. JL Post author

      I only created folders for the files floating around in larger folders, not every single MRIN, but I can see batch-creating them would give you a jumpstart. I also have a lot of numbers being used in my Source Library that don’t have other files that need to go somewhere. I have not yet re-named all the files except for putting the MRIN at the front of the names for searchability. (Spellchecker says that’s not a word.) I had a gigantic photo folder that I just couldn’t get happy with. I kept renaming the files and nothing was working. And then I gave up for a long time.

      Guilty as charged, but I’m done now. I am not keeping myself awake at night with any more filing system ideas. This is it.

      But then there’s always those horrific thoughts like, “Oh my god, this won’t work for Myrt’s coffee-table books!” And then I remember, I don’t have a coffee-table. The last time I was in a house with a coffee-table it was my mother’s house and I was sixteen. Whew.


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