Ever go through a stack of old photos, fearful that you’ve labeled one as your second cousin’s daughter, but it’s really just a school picture of an acquaintance of one of your children?
What about when kids are named after older relatives? How do you keep track of which “Jim Johnson” is which?
Sadly, most photos are never properly identified, much less dated. When my Mom (Donna Busch Stillwell) sparked my interest in genealogy with her family tree efforts, I started scanning photos. I debated quite a while before deciding on my strategy for naming and dating photos and document images.
Once you start dabbling in family history, you’ll find your work area filling up fast with paper and photos. You might try organizing papers in binders and file folders and file cabinets. If you’re starting fresh with genealogy and you own the technology, you might as well go “full-digital” from the start and save and store everything electronically. Future generations will thank you.
I decided to use the file name of the scanned image or photo to store as much identifying info as possible, including identification numbers from my Legacy software database. Now, instead of clicking through a fat folder of files to find an image, I can search the photo folder by name, individual and marriage codes, year, city name, spouse name or whatever terms might be helpful.
Let’s make a deal: Be sure you understand the system before you discount or reject it. Down the road you might be thrilled that you adopted the system and can find documents and photos so easily.