Loving my electronic file system


A snippet from my Finder window

Back in January, I blogged about reorganizing my electronic file system. I took inspiration from Ben Sayer of Genealogy Tools, creating a file structure format for each individual, organized into surname folders on my Mac. What I name individual documents within a folder is fairly loose, but the folder naming structure has been standardized.

I’m happy to report that it’s been a success! I can easily find a document I”m looking for and, even better, I’m now saving documents with confidence and alacrity. A nice side benefit of that confidence is that I’m printing fewer documents that I find online. (I blogged about the printing dilemma in January as well.)

I wanted to save money on paper and toner by printing less. What I didn’t take into account, though, is that I also save time by saving documents rather than printing them. It takes a bit more time to type the file name than to click Print, but once I’ve done that, the process is over. I don’t have to file the paper documents. And they’re also easier to retrieve. Since I store my genealogy file cart in a closet in my office, retrieving files took a little effort.

Another benefit is that when I’m feeling industrious, I can link images of source documents from my hard drive directly into the Reunion software I use. Once I get consistent about that, I’ll really be set and it will be so easy for me to see the research I’ve found.

I’m saving more documents and easily using this new naming protocol for folders. The next step will be to work on my backlog. My 2012 files are not consistently filed. But I know if I work on it a little at a time, I ca bring order to my hard drive!


  1. Jerry Brown says:

    Good idea, great execution and great results

  2. Sue Ridgley says:

    I find that if I put the dates first, the computer will organize them in order by itself! I’m working on a solution like yours; I like that you put the second surname in Parenthesis…helpful information.


  3. this has been such a useful tip. my files were in a mess!

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