The paper-based MRIN filing system was developed by Karen Clifford about 35 years ago. My contribution to it is a digital filing system also using MRINs.
It was quite laborious (in retrospect) and I have since greatly streamlined this process. Watch the FREE PowerPoint presentation (updated 2014) that goes through the whole thing from A to Z.
I finally got organized when I had so much paper and so many digital sources that I couldn’t find anything without wading through up to my shoulders. But, to be accurate, it was really a couple of years past that point.
If you are already filing paper by MRIN, you already know that MRINs (Marriage Record Identification Numbers) are cross-referenced with numbered tab dividers kept in binders. I do the same thing with hanging folders for paper that doesn’t fit in the binders. A filing cabinet would also be fine.
There’s no need for me to go back over the basic system. If you’re interested, it’s explained in clear and simple language. I just want to explain how I’ve expanded on the original system with a digital component.
The only part that really matters is that your MRINs match up with your document numbering, and your Master Source ID numbers match up with your Master Source documents. That’s it. The rest is optional.
For the sake of preservation I scan everything I can. Not everything works well. For instance, I have photocopies of hand-written documents from the 1700’s and they weren’t using letter and legal size paper back then, more like 17 X 22 and other weird sizes. But I do the best I can.
So I have some documents existing as only paper, some as both, and quite a bit that’s only digital saved from the Internet and not printed to paper. I use a free program called PDF Creator or MHT to print pages of interest from the Internet so that I’m not just quoting URLs that may disappear tomorrow.
Back to the MRINs. If you’re using hanging folders as I am, or using tabbed binders, you can still use only the numbers you want to. Some people in your database may not have sources other than what information you copied direct from another person’s database.
If you don’t want your MRINs all over the place, just renumber them starting at “1” for the people you actually have paper or digital sources for. It’s under Tools in the Legacy menu and it’s a very easy thing to do. It really doesn’t matter because even if the MRINs that have source documents are 34, 128, 2037 and so on they’re still going to line up in numerical order.
I put most of the pages in archival quality page protectors. They come in boxes of 100 at a reasonable cost. I number the edge of each page protector with the MRIN using a permanent marker. I don’t like punching holes in paper so this seemed the best solution.