This is my recommendation for naming every digital piece of Family History material. It works. It’s easy. - Purpose: o to make it quick-n-easy to create, easy to maintain and use file naming system o make it quick and easy to locate source documents and images in your computer
- File naming is not a source data citation system o You do not need to put source data or citation material in the file name o Use enough in the file name to be able to quickly find/identify the image.
- File names can be up to 255 characters, including letters, numbers, spaces & many special characters, except: : \ / : * ? “ < > | cannot be used in file names…
Primary file name format:
Surname, Given name(s) – Type & year – Description
- Abbreviations for Type of documents that I use in naming files: b birth/baptism o obituary cem cemetery/headstone m marriage registration p will/probate related dra military draft d death Document n naturalization nsp newspaper/mag c census mil military record pas passport l land/homestead i immigration/emigration div divorce ph photograph bio biographies or story bib family bible
For the many many other items such as religious docs, occupations, SAR/DAR, etc., use whatever makes sense to you, abbreviations are most useful. NOTE: When you use a new document type abbreviation, WRITE IT DOWN! This will help you be consistent next time. I will guarantee you that no matter how much sense and obvious your new “Type” is you won’t remember it. And, consistence IS important. Remember these are for YOU.
NOTE1: If there is ambiguity, confusion, or potential duplication, use the ”Description” entry to clarify the item. NOTE2: Obituary, and probate/will file names have the death date following the” o” and “p” respectively. “n” will be followed by the date of naturalization; “mil” followed by enlistment date, draft date, or date of the military related document. I think you can get the picture from here.
Photo file naming format:
Photograph file name format for a single person: Surname, Given Name(s) –“ph” & Date or approximate date photo was taken – location where photo was taken - short descriptive word. If the year of photo or location of a photo is not known, estimate or leave the item(s) blank.
Example: Glaus, John – ph1915 - Chamberlain SD – graduation
Photograph format for a group photo:
Surname, Given Name of the principle person in the photo, (Or Group Name) – “ph” & year photo was taken – location – short descriptive word. If the year of photo or location of a photo is not known, estimate or leave the item(s) blank.
Example: Glaus, John –ph1912 – Chamberlain, SD- Chamberlain rotary
Cemetery Headstone photo format:
Surname, Given Name(s) – “cem” & death date – cemetery name - Description
Hall, Philander – cem1825 – Fulton Cemetery - headstone Ryan, Michael – cem1901 - New Cathedral – plot monument
NOTE: The “cem” type designates a headstone unless otherwise indicated, eg “plot card".
Audio and Video file formats:
Surname, Given Name ( of person on recording ) – “a” or “v” & year of Audio/Video recording - short description
West, Leone - a2007 interview, Morris family discussed Marie, Unni - a2008 translation of Rognlie farm history Web Hosting by FatCowWest, Leone - a2007 interview, Morris family discussed Marie, Unni - a2008 translation of Rognlie farm history Web Hosting by FatCow