MRIN Filing System: Renumbering MRINs

by JL Beeken on 5-15-2010

This is a dubiously-useful way to spend a week, but I’ve been away from Legacy for a long time and I had to start somewhere.

As some of you know, I file according to MRINs – Marriage Record Identification Numbers. While I was madly entering data, citing sources and carefully numbering it all, I managed to separate, by number, people with more than one spouse. This is not critical; it’s just annoying at times. For instance, I may (in fact, do) have photos of gravestones with 3 people in them – husband and two wives, for instance. Also, wife with two husbands. Hence, different MRINs. Sometimes I have someone with as many as 4 marriages and the children from one marriage get dragged into the next, and the next, showing up on multiple census records with different mothers or fathers and murking everything up.

Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I was thinking, wouldn’t it be tidier, and easier to manage, if all the marriages lined up together numerically? Then, when I go to look at the documentation, everything is in the same vicinity. ‘Same vicinity’ becomes an issue as the total number of source documents increase.

So, that’s what I did.

Step 1. Find the highest MRIN being used in my Source Library. Search on MRIN less than that number. Tag them.
Step 2. Search my Legacy database for ‘individuals with multiple spouses’. Found under Miscellaneous Searches. Tag those.
Step 3. Combine these two searches to narrow it down.

Then, one at a time, very carefully:

– renumber their MRINs to the next two highest spots. Let’s say up to 680 is already used. Renumber the marriages (assuming there’s 2) to 681 and 682. Write this down on a piece of paper. For instance,

1132 to 681
103 to 682

– renumber any source documents beginning with 0103 to 0682
– 681 has no source documents so I put in a blank text file (0681 person’s name) as a placeholder
– I put a plain text document for 103 named 103 UNUSED.txt so I know. I’ll use it later for someone else.
– use Search & Replace to change Citation-File ID from 0103 to 0682.
– Go to Options/Customize/Locations/Test All Multimedia Paths, clear all boxes and click Proceed. Manually link up each source image to its newly numbered file
– change the numbering in my paper files. i.e. get out the paint thinner and a soft rag, clean off the old number, wipe dry, write the new number, refile.

I had 75 people to change and it only took two days.

Then I thought, while I was at it, I might as well number all the extra gravestones (not being used as source documents but the larger originals cluttering up my hard-drive) by MRIN too. That way, when I’m looking for ‘stuff’ that’s floating around about a particular person I don’t have to depend on file-names or best guesses to find what I want. Since I IPTC-annotate all images by keyword, I can find whatever I want, but that’s only the images. This is from my Gravestones folder of ‘extra’ gravestones:

MRIN Filing System

One of the many forms of genealogical chaos is having multiple versions of the same file with different names. Putting an MRIN in front of everything makes it easier to see that. Things were going so swimmingly well, I did my ‘Spare Documents’ folder too:

MRIN Filing System

… which leaves me a bunch of other files that don’t belong to anyone in particular but confronts me with how much stuff I collect just because I can and might even bring me one step closer to deciding what, if anything, I’m going to do with it. I also made a new folder called CloseButNoCigar so I may just chuck it all in there. Just kidding.

Theoretically, things are pretty simple. Either they’re source documents linked to Legacy and/or they’re part of my wiki. For scanned images, there are the original and edited copies. The only excuse I have for multiple copies of the same files with different names is from dismantling some Passage Express projects I did a couple years ago … and mucking around in graphics programs for years … and cousins who send me the same stuff over and over and over after I’ve renamed it something else. That sort of thing.

If you need some extra help with duplicate files, try XnView for images, and Duplicate Cleaner for other things. Both free. When I ran Duplicate Cleaner on my entire (14 GB) ANCESTORS folder, it came up with only half a dozen duplicates. Which means … I must have forgotten (because I didn’t write it down) … that I have a ton of documents still to attach to my wiki.

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