Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dear Randy - How Do You Name a Downloaded Census Image?

I had a question from Ricky in email several weeks ago, and I've had discussions on this recently in my CVGS Research Group, so I thought that I would put it in the blog in case others have the same issue:

"I would like to know how you name a census page when you download it to a digital image? I know how to cite the image, but am curious how other Genealogy researchers name their images. I'm hoping to find a method that I can incorporate which will help me organize my research images."

My response:  I try to include the following elements in a census record image file (with an example):

*  Name:  FrederickWSeaver
*  Date:  1940
*  RecordType:  CensusUS
*  Location:  LeominsterMA
*  ED: 14-191
*  Sheet:  9A
*  NARA ID:  T627-1651

The file name would then be:

FrederickWSeaver1940-CensusUS-LeominsterMA-ED14-191-Sheet9A-NARAT627-1651.jpg

If I am consistent in doing this (especially for name and year), then I have a file folder for the Frederick W Seaver and Alma Bessie Richmond family with all of Fred's records in chronological order with enough information that I know what the image is.  Another benefit is that I can see what documents I don't have - for instance, I can tell immediately if I don't have a certain census year or vital record for each person.

I do this for my photographs too.  The elements I use in a photograph are:

*  Name:  AlmaBessieRichmond+FrederickWSeaver
*  Year: 1900
*  RecordType: PhotoMarriage
*  Location:  LeominsterMA
*  Detail:  StMarksEpiscopalChurch

The file name would then be:

AlmaBessieRichmond+FrederickWSeaver-1900-PhotoMarriage-LeominsterMA-StMarksEpiscopalChurch.jpg

For a marriage, I list both persons, the bridge first.  For group photos, I will usually pick the senior person and do something like FrederivkWSeaver+group to identify a group photo.  If there is more than one family in a photo, I will duplicate it and put it in the file folders for each family.

Obviously, the file names get relatively long, but I can look at a list and see what these files are.  

I chose this system because I wanted all of my digital information for a couple in one family file folder, including their children up until they married.  If I know a surname, and the father's name, I can find the file I want with several clicks.  This system may be "too much" for some people - I like more information than abbreviated information.  Other people have different systems that work for them, but this one works for me.  

In my RootsMagic program database, I save only one image for the household, so the name in the first element is for the head of household.  I create a source citation for the household, and then copy the source citation for each person in the household.  I add the image as a Media item for the head of household, and Tag it to the other members of the household.  

One problem I have with all of my downloaded census image files is that they were downloaded and named before I decided on the "best" naming scheme (the one above), so only some of my file names are to that standard.  It's too much work for now to revise the file names, then delete the existing media (with the previous file name), and then attach the media with the revised file name.  I have over 1,000 media items in my database now...

The lesson learned here is:  Choose your file naming scheme carefully, and follow your file name  convention consistently, and do it before you attach media to the persons and events in your genealogy program.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/07/dear-randy-how-do-you-name-downloaded.html

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver



10 comments:

Sandy Scott said...

I like to name my images so they sort in a consistent way in the Roots Magic source list.

Year U.S. Census, FirstName MiddleNameInitial Surname household

I do the same with the source citations as you do, Randy.

For photographs, I name them by the surname-firstname-middlenameinitial-date. That way, all the photos for the person are together, sorted by the date they were taken/recorded.

Russ Worthington said...

Randy,

I have a different take on filenaming.

My reasoning is so that they "sort well" in Windows Explorer, or so that I can find them quickly.

Surname_Firstname-Middlename-YYYY-Event

The full name as I know it, followed by the year followed by the Event. Again, this is for Sorting purposes.

Lets take the Census example. The from part doen't change, but the Name is the Head of Household.

1940-Census-NewJersey-Hudson-Bayonne.jpg

I do not use spaces (hang over from the 8+3 days.

This way, all of the images for a specific person will be grouped together.

Within my genealogy database software, I categorize these images, by Birth, Death, Census, etc.

What about other documents. Same concept. 1929-BirthCertificate. as the Date-Event part of the filename. 1928-Wedding, 1917-BirthdayParty.

2013-LifeStory.doc or .docx

Beside the sorting aspect, it also allows for folder and subfolder creation and filing.

Females, birth surname.

Just another way to do this. Each of us, I think, need to think about it for a moment or two. Try a couple of tests, the create a plan.

Russs

As an example.

Tale Teller said...

I used to name files according to the person of interest, but found that too restrictive. Many image files contain information on multiple people. Now I use the source type to group images e.g. Census.

I try to incorporate all the information I need to create a citation in the filename, especially the things that are NOT on the image. For images downloaded from Ancestry, I incorporate the 'breadcrumb' elements that reflect Ancestry's arrangement of the material and a personal name that is helpful (e.g. household head). Note that the online arrangement does not always follow that of the origninals.

An example for a census record from Wales from Ancestry:
CEN 1901 Wales-Monmouthshire-Bedwelty-Rock Bedwelty-ED 17-img 2-Frame, Moses

However, this approach still does not include the citation information, so I have recently taken to cut and pasting the rest (folio no, page no, TNA ref, district and sub-district in the above example) into the image file's meta data. You can add such text to the image file by going editing the file properties under details. A the moment I put the info into the comments field. Data stored in this way is searchable, which in part gets over my use of different naming systems in the past.

Now if all the websites that offer downloads of images incorporated the citation information in a standard format - Top of my wish list.

Sue Adams said...

I used to name files according to the person of interest, but found that too restrictive. Many image files contain information on multiple people. Now I use the source type to group images e.g. Census.

I try to incorporate all the information I need to create a citation in the filename, especially the things that are NOT on the image. For images downloaded from Ancestry, I incorporate the 'breadcrumb' elements that reflect Ancestry's arrangement of the material and a personal name that is helpful (e.g. household head). Note that the online arrangement does not always follow that of the origninals.

An example for a census record from Wales from Ancestry:
CEN 1901 Wales-Monmouthshire-Bedwelty-Rock Bedwelty-ED 17-img 2-Frame, Moses

However, this approach still does not include the citation information, so I have recently taken to cut and pasting the rest (folio no, page no, TNA ref, district and sub-district in the above example) into the image file's meta data. You can add such text to the image file by going editing the file properties under details. A the moment I put the info into the comments field. Data stored in this way is searchable, which in part gets over my use of different naming systems in the past.

Now if all the websites that offer downloads of images incorporated the citation information in a standard format - Top of my wish list.

Michael McCormack said...

I think that your way is way too complicated. I keep it real simple. I use the name of the person that is the head of the household. Then I store it in the census year folder.

Lisa Suzanne Gorrell said...

I want all of my images to sort by date so I start with that first. Anything that starts with the year and location is a census record:

YEAR-LOCATION-HEADOFHOUSEHOLD-IMAGE#

So it would look like this:

1870 Will Co IL - vincent seavert p 1 of 2.jpg

There might be several variants of the image: cropped, the following page if the family covered two pages. I don't use the word census because I know these are census records.

My other type of records have the type after the date (BIRTH, DEATH, DIR, etc.)

I too had started naming a long time ago and I don't link them to RootsMagic. They are just in in family folders on my computer.

Nettie said...

My census files are yearcountystatesurnamegiveninital.
example: 1850CampbellKYBallE.jpg filed in census folder for NE KY have over 50 families in all of KY and many different families named on the same sheet.
1850 is my clue for census.
Marriage is SurnameCountystateMarrsurname.jpg
same format for wills, probate, death certificate etc...

Eddie Black said...

I name my census images purely for what they are; a census page. I often have multiple families and individuals on the same census page. I have only US census records so I do not identify nation. My designation looks like this: year/two letter state abbreviation/county (in lower case)/ City / ED / page # 1940PAalleghenyPittsburghW29ED827p6B

Kim Mills said...

I name my files in a similar way. I used to do Year USA Census Name. But I've just changed to Year Census Full Place Person Name.
So 1901_Census_Canada_Ontario_GreyCo_John_Smith.jpg

This way if I have people with the same name in the same census year I can easily tell them apart.

I also use RootsMagic and found the best way to update file names is to do it IN RM media gallery.
If my memory is right select the image thumbnail, then go to properties and in the lower left window is a change media option. Click on that and it opens to the folder that media is in. Right click on the file and select rename. Update the file name with what you want it to read. Then select Ok. When you go back to RM it preserves the tags and descriptions of the original image but now has the naming structures you want.
This would be faster then renaming them outside of RM then relinking them all.

Eddie Black said...

Since I file the census image only using the census identifying information – no reference to people;
“1940PAalleghenyPittsburghW29ED827p6B”
then when I am searching additional people and go to enter that same census page my computer flags the entry as a duplicate … do I want to override ?… and I am alerted to the fact that I have an additional family or individuals on the same census page.

It has been extremely useful identifying married siblings … aunt and uncles … grandparents with a different last name, that I had not recognized as neighbors.