RobbHaas Family Pages
Foulke - Haas - Robbins - Worthen  Families

  My Organization System


Every person in my family files has a unique ID number (ID0000) - These numbers are generated by a database - They are attached to each person in Legacy Family Tree, my web pages, documents, photos, etc.
-  This is how I am able to determine which Joe Jones I am looking for
-  I rarely search for a person by name, usually by their ID number - Much easier and quicker
-  This ID# is attached to the person in my RootsMagic record for that person
Each document, whether physical or digital is given an accession number
   A. The document is accessioned and the information, including the source citation and the transcription/extract, is entered into the database
        -  Therefore, no matter where I want to use that information all I have to do is cut and paste it from the database record to the
            new location
   B. The Accession number (Acc000000) follows this item everywhere - RootsMagic, my web pages, any upload to anywhere
   C. If there is a document to be scanned, I scan the document as a .pdf file and give it a unique Doc number -
        -  This Doc number (Doc0000) follows it everywhere
Each of my photos 20,000+ are assigned a unique Ph number (Ph0000)
   A. I create descriptive file names with names, dates, ID numbers, Acc numbers, etc
   B. I add captions with names, dates, places, Acc numbers, Doc numbers, ID numbers, etc. in Picasa
      -  This makes it very easy to search for the name, the ID number, the Acc number, etc. to find a specific image
      - Sample file name:  Ph9999-Acc0000-JoeJones-ID0000-RidingHorse-4Oct2012
   C. I scan all photos as .tif files at 600dpi
(I must admit when I first began my numbering system was not so great and there are still several of those with outdated filenames that still exist)      
- Each Book I use as a resource is given a unique Bk number (Bk0000) -
- Each Book I own is given one of these Bk numbers, whether fiction, non-fiction, research, etc.
- This data for each book is collected in my "Books" Access Database
-  This Bk# is used whenever a book is used as a source, reference, note, etc.
These unique ID numbers follow the person, document, photo. etc. Wherever they go
   A. If I find a photo of 3 people - all three ID numbers are attached to that photo
   B. If I have a document that refers to 3 people all three ID numbers are attached to it along with the Acc number
Family History Database

I use RootsMagic as my Family History Database
- I started life with Family Origins which I loved
- When Family Origins went away I changed to Family Tree Maker which I did not like at all,
- When RootsMagic came out I switched to it and stayed put - but with RM-4 there were several things that were broken or were simply
   never included that made it much too hard for me to work with it
- I switched to Legacy Family Tree for a while.
- Since RM-5 came out they made many improvements and I  and switched back  (Oct 2012)
-  Once RM-6 came out I am VERY happy with this software and it just keeps getting better with time.
-  I am now using RM-7 (Apr 2015) and although there are small things I would like to see fixed it is still, in my opinion, the best of the bunch that is available

Web Pages

Web Site #1
I have my web pages at RootsWeb
   A. I add information to both the Legacy Family Tree DB and the web pages for people
   B. I upload images to Picasa Web Albums and then embed them in the person's web page

My web pages are located at:

You will notice the accession numbers attached to virtually every source - that is for me, not anyone else - it lets me know exactly where I can find all the information about that item in my system - you will also see Ph numbers and Doc numbers in the sources section as well.

I found that one of the limitations with most any database program were things such as data that related to a large family group instead of just an individual - with my web pages I can add data to a person, the entire family, a place, a cemetery, add maps, images, etc. so much easier.

Web Site #2:
I also have webpage located at
-  These pages are generated and published using RootsMagic Ver. 7
-  I update these pages usually each Wednesday
-  This data is the most up-to-date version of my information on most of the non-living individuals in my system



I store my documents in File Cabinets and label them SB-1, SB-2, etc. - These Storage locations are attached to the accession records
   A. Making it very easy to find any item
   B. A Digital only item (i.e. digital census image from will be labeled "Digital Only" in my accession DB and
       the Ph or Doc number is indicated.

Photos, Slides, Negatives
I store my photos in storage boxes and label them PSB-1, PSB-2, etc (Photo Storage Box)
   A. In Picasa I indicate in the caption the physical location of the print, slide, or negative  i.e. [Storage:  PSB-1/026] -
   B.  Also in the caption I indicate the size of the print I scanned and the size I scanned it to i.e. [Scanned from 3.5 x 3.5 BW print, to 5x7 size]
   C.  The negative or Slide number is also part of the caption when available
   D.  On the back of each photo is the Ph number, the negative number, names, dates, places, storage location, etc.
I store my slides in either notebooks or storage boxes - they are labeled Slides-1, Slides-2, etc.
I store my negatives in Storage boxes labeled Neg-1, Neg-2, etc.
- I keep track of the negatives and slides with a database
- I am in the process of scanning and creating print sheets for all my negatives and slides so I can connect any physical print with their
  corresponding negative or slide

Digital Files
My digital files are stored in folders in My Documents/Genealogy/ and Google Drive
- There is a hard drive copy plus the online copies.
- There is a photos folder with sub-folders marked Photos-1, Photos-2, etc. I allow them to get to about 2 GB or so before I create another folder.
- My documents (mostly .pdf files) are stored in folders Documents 1-499, Documents 500-999, etc.
- I upload all Documents to Google Drive

When I first started my Family History journey I tried filing and storing things by family names but that got cumbersome in a hurry - thus this system of Identification numbers, storage places, etc. has evolved. 

I began a few years ago attempting to go all Digital - Now when I come across a record online, for example, I no longer download and print a physical copy.  Instead, I copy the URL of the record into my RootsMagic database and create a very detailed source citation so that I, or other people, will have enough information to locate this exact record themselves.  Even if the URL does not work in the future the Source Citation will point to the document.  I normally create the source citation and transcribe the document directly into RootsMagic where I add  the link to the document and the image if one exists.  With this method I usually no longer assign Acc numbers to documents.

I believe in lots of backups
-  My computer has a RAID system (essentially, I have 2 C Drives which are mirror images of one another - if one goes bad the other one automatically takes over so no data is lost)
-  I have a D Drive that is solely for the purpose of backing up the C Drives daily
-  I make daily copies of that daily backup and store them on external drives kept in a safe in my office and to the Cloud
-  I have a full backup stored in a bank safe deposit box as well
-  I have at least 3 to 4 copies of all files on my system stored somewhere
-  I once lost all my data back in the early days of computing and have never forgotten that nightmare
- I continually update items as new technology comes along and more and cheaper storage space becomes available -
- I am in the process of re-scanning most of my documents and photos now to make them hi-res - or scanning the docs as .pdfs instead of .jpg or .tif files

I am also continually updating my source citations - when I first started many years ago, my sourcing skills were not well-defined - They are still not perfect, but much better than before.

A very interesting set of articles from FamilySearch are available on this subject which is well worth reading for anyone seriously considering organization and/or long term storage of historic items

I know this sounds very complicated and a lot of work and it is - but if you want a way to be able to find things this system works -
-  I have found down through life that when you are dealing with objects, documents, etc. each item requires an ID number of some sort and then a way to track those numbers. If I can be of any assistance please let me know.

For my University Internship I designed and implemented a Collections Management System for a small museum to make it easier for them to keep track of their collections.  I used the system I have described here.  As long as the system is adhered to and kept up to date it works.

BTW, Family history is virtually all I do, so I have plenty of time to devote to it. I use a computer system with four 23-inch monitors and lots of memory and hard drive space, which helps with moving things between databases, online pages, etc. I love organizing and having a place for everything and making sure that each item is in its place - I lose sleep when I cannot lay my hands on a specific item instantly.

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