MRIN Filing System PPSX

The MRIN Filing System is a genealogy filing system based on Marriage Record Identification Numbers. It was developed by professional genealogist, Karen Clifford, about 35 years ago as a paper-based system only. Over the past seven years I’ve added a digital filing system to it. This PowerPoint presentation describes the process from where I started to where I am now; able to find any file almost instantly.

MRIN Filing System

MRIN Filing System.ppsx
updated December 28, 2014, 2.5MB
(Right-click and Save As)

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Lavender 9-26-2012 at 7:19 PM

Goodness, now that certainly expands on the MRIN filing system. I detect a touch of Virgo in there. My filing system fell into decay about 12 months ago when health issues started dominating my life. I would certainly love to have a go at your method but I would have to start at the very beginning….ME…am I up to doing it she asks….hmmm. Might be good therapy. Thx JL for the presentation.


JL Beeken 9-26-2012 at 7:37 PM

Good to hear from you, Lavender! Your absence has been quite noticeable. It could be a touch of Virgo, or just a touch of Where the H are my files? If I’m going to spend the time collecting them I’d like to know where they are. And now I do.


Jasia 9-27-2012 at 7:57 AM

I am in desperate need of both a digital and paper filing system. I’ve considered several and now I have yours to consider too. Thank you for complicating my life further. ;-) Your system makes more sense than the others but it too will require me to scrap what I’ve got and start all over. Oh how I dread that thought. Perhaps I’ll make it my New Year’s resolution and tackle it this winter. Thanks for sharing your great idea!


JL Beeken 9-27-2012 at 10:40 AM

Desperation is a relative thing. I have a low tolerance for un-solved problems.


Carol Robson 5-15-2013 at 2:52 PM

Thank you! I have not looked at everything yet but just know that this is going to work for me and its the perfect time for me to reorganise with a system. I am a Virgo so now you understand. ;-)


JL Beeken 5-15-2013 at 3:14 PM

It was my belief, at one time, that ALL genealogists must be Virgos but I’ve been proven wrong. Saggitarius is also common for obvious reasons.


Kay Brown 6-14-2014 at 6:45 PM

I’m a book person. Following your MRIN Filing System.ppsx on the computer is very difficult for me to read and to comprehend. Is there a book or ways to make a copy of all your filing system information and hints available?



JL Beeken 6-14-2014 at 7:08 PM

Interesting question. Maybe I should print it into book format and sell it on Amazon but you could be the only person who might buy it since it’s already been given away for free.

As you can see, the PPSX is a powerpoint presentation. I think the ‘hints’ were things I wrote before I made the slides.

If you’d rather have a book, you can print it all and read paper instead. But maybe your comprehension problem has more to do with the way I’ve written it, not so much the fact you’re reading it off a computer screen instead of paper.

Are you looking for a Step 1, 2, 3 kind of process so you don’t have to understand the fundamentals, just click your way through?

You’re almost inspiring me to try.

The premise of it is really, really simple. Every marriage in Legacy (and maybe some other genealogy software) has a Marriage Record Identification Number. Documents are filed by those numbers, such as 0054 and then the date if there is one; so 0054-1900 and then a short file name.

I embed all the other information into the images using tagging for keywords, locations, source, copyright, etc. I’ve written a lot about tagging. Look for IPTC in the sidebar.

It might also help if you watch the powerpoint slowly one slide at a time and do it several times until you start to have aha moments. Don’t be so quick to give up.


Kay Brown 6-15-2014 at 12:34 PM

Thank you so much for your prompt reply. I do understand what you write and I like the way that you write. I am a senior who has had 2 cataract surgeries and must still wear trifocals. Reading anything of any length is just not something that I enjoy doing. Therefore, I always print off the information. I did not know that there is a way to print your PowerPoint presentation. I will attempt to do that. That should solve my problem.

Thanks again! I like the way you think!



JL Beeken 6-15-2014 at 1:57 PM

I just printed it to PDF without a problem by opening the powerpoint and clicking Ctrl+P to bring up my printer options. So anyone can do that or print directly to paper.


Fred 6-16-2014 at 6:48 PM

Hi JL.

First, let me say “Thank You” for the an amazing resources you’ve assembled here. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time trying to absorb the many topics you address. Until I stumbled across the site, I didn’t have a clue re: IPTC, Photo Mechanic (they should give you a cut for referring people to them), XnView and so on.

I do have some questions regarding the nested MRIN folders. It’s difficult to look at someone else’s descendant lines and try to relate it to your own family.

Let me see if I have this right using a five generation example:

*If one creates MRIN folders for the descendant lines, then for, say, five generations, that would equate to (assuming no multiple marriages) sixteen MRIN folders. This inherently makes sense, so no issues here.

*For whatever reason, it’s the nesting part (under Method #3) that’s somewhat confusing to me. In your example (as I recognize this could be done a trillion ways), did you only # the generations for your initial direct line folders? I ask as under the “Nested MRIN Folders slide, I see 03_0107, then a 0066 underneath.

*If, for example, my married brother had an MRIN of 0010, I assume this wouldn’t be prepended with a generation # (that would only be the case with my MRIN/folder. And if I utilized the nesting, where would that specific folder reside?


JL Beeken 6-16-2014 at 7:30 PM

Yes, it’s only the direct-line folders that have generation numbers. The folder of your married brother goes under your parents. And his married children would go in their own folders under his folder.

In the example that your refer to:

03_0107 are my great-grandparents. My grandparents are 02_0002. The great-grandparents’ other children (and they had 3) are under the great-grandparents’ folder. That’s why you see ‘0066’ there. And then their children in each case are filed in their own folders underneath.

Telling you more than you asked for:

As I continue to add more marriages and more files, I look to see the MRIN of the parents of the new person I need to make a folder for so I know where to put it in the filing system. Then I use the Search box in Windows to take me to that folder. If there isn’t one I create it without an MRIN, just the names, for instance Smith-Jones.

Sometimes my research is so scattered I have to create two or three interim folders before I get to one that’s already in the system.

MRIN Filing System

A couple things to note in the image:

1) 5599W means Stanley and Parker are both cousins so the documents are filed following the male side. The W refers to wife and the folder here is empty. This is in case I want to gather together all the files for all the descendants of 06_5647 Johnson-Stanley. The ‘W’ tells me to look up 5599 for those fies.

2) WJ Parker-LA Allen do not yet have a specifically-assigned MRIN because I have no files for them. Nevertheless, they have a folder here because I needed a place to put 5599W.

Once you get the direct lines set up, everything else follows naturally.


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