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Computer Organization Software for Genealogists

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<< Organizing Your Digital Genealogy Files

An alternative to the do-it-yourself method is to use a program designed for organizing computer files.

Clooz
An organization program designed specifically for genealogists, Clooz is billed as an "electronic filing cabinet." The software includes templates for entering information from a variety of standard genealogical documents such as census records, as well as photos, correspondence, and other genealogical records. You can import and attach a digital copy of the original photo or document to each template if you wish. Reports can be generated to show all documents contained in Clooz for a specific individual or record type.

Photo Album Software
If your digital photos are scattered across your computer and on a collection of CDs, a digital photo organizer such as Adobe Photoshop Album or Picasa can come to the rescue. These programs scan your hard drive and catalog every photo found there. Some also have the ability to catalog photos found on other networked computers or on CD-Roms. The organization of these images varies from program to program, but most organize the photos by date. A "keyword" feature allows you to add "tags" to your photos -- such as a specific surname, location, or keyword -- to make them easy to find at any time. My tombstone photos, for example, are tagged with the word "cemetery," plus the name of the particular cemetery, the location of the cemetery and the surname of the individual. This gives me four different ways to easily find the same picture.

One last method of organization for digital files is to import them all into your genealogy software program. Photos and digitized documents can be added to many family tree programs through a scrapbook feature. Some can even be attached as sources. Emails and text files can be copied and pasted into the notes field for the individuals to which they pertain. This system is nice if you have a small family tree, but can get a bit cumbersome if you have a large number of documents and photos which apply to more than one person.

No matter what organization system you choose for your computer genealogy files, the trick is to use it consistently. Pick a system and stick to it and you'll never have trouble finding a document again.

One last perk to digital genealogy - it helps eliminate some of the paper clutter!

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