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Organising digital media (and FTM)

Discussion in 'Digital records' started by LynneB, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. LynneB

    LynneB LostCousins Member

    All my Family History information is filed in a way I understand so I can find what I'm looking for fairly quickly. They are primarily used on my hard drive but also backed up onto a 1 terabyte external drive.

    I use Family Tree Maker (14.1) for my family tree. When I add media that I didn't find on Ancestry (let's say a newspaper clipping), FTM saves that in a file called Lynne's Ancestry Media. That makes sense, I guess. Now I have two copies of my media saved on the same hard drive.
    So, I have two questions:
    1. Do I need to keep both copies of the media on my hard drive? The organiser in me says "yes" (in one place it's neatly filed); the frugal space-saver, says "no, why use double the space?" What do you think? More to the point, what do experienced family historians do?
    2. Can I reorganise FTM's media files into different folders (eg census, photos, electoral rolls, BDM indexes, etc)or will Family Tree Maker have a fit?
    I guess I could make a copy of the FTM file as it is and place it somewhere else temporarily then try rearranging some of the files and see what happens but I'd like to hear what others have done before I spend time doing that.
  2. AdrienneQ

    AdrienneQ Moderator Staff Member

    I let FTM save in its preferred location and find the media files by going via the record on FMT
  3. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Superstar

    I let FTM save the media where ever it wants to, then I have a separate copy also on the harddrive - I then have third and fourth copies on Dropbox (where I share the information with interested relatives) and on a separate harddrive which is more of a backup of all my ancestral files. (A virus ate my work Mac and about 6-7 years worth of work files a year or so ago, so I've become a touch... cautious).
    Realistically, the second copy is always useful just in case there is an issue with FTM. Perhaps purchase a portable hard drive or similar and have the second copy on there? Then you have both the neatly filed version and you can clear space on your harddrive at the same time.

    I have never tried rearranging FTM's media file, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it will only allow a single media folder to be used. Check the settings or preferences, that will probably tell you which file it's using, but it will probably only have space for one entry.
  4. NicolaP

    NicolaP LostCousins Member

    When adding media in FTM14.1, rather than allowing FTM to copy it into one of its program folders, you also get the option to link to the file without copying. It then creates a link to the file where you have saved it thus avoiding duplication and allowing you to keep the folder structure you have created. While having additional backups of data is a good idea, keeping more than one copy on the same hard drive doesn't avoid problems that can occur with hardware failure. While I can see the benefits of keeping all media saved to FTM in one place, where there are a considerable number of files it makes finding things manually, should the need arise. As jorghes has said, I don't believe its possible in FTM to create a folder structure, although I've never tried.

    I don't use FTM now as my main software, but Family Historian. The Family Historian Users Group Forum "experts" are forever telling people to allow FH to make a copy in the FH folder structure, which, unlike FTM, does allow you to create a folder structure, rather than use a single folder to save media, as they say its easier to backup and transfer to other PCs. However, personally, if you keep all your files in a dedicated folder structure and know where it is to backup and transfer, there is no reason why this approach cannot be taken and just create a link in the software. It really comes down to personal choice and perhaps to a lesser extent technical ability. Family Historian obviously doesn't and never has synchronised with Ancestry so all my data and media have been manually entered into the program so my situation is a bit different, although I do have a copy of FTM14.1 which I have used to synchronise a copy of a friend's tree I host on Ancestry in the past. Going forward with my friend's tree I've decided to wait for Roots Magic's version of synchronisation and not purchase the upgrade to FTM2017.

    It really is down to personal choice how you wish to work, no method is the only correct way of doing this.
  5. LynneB

    LynneB LostCousins Member

    I guess I should have said that I need to keep my non-Ancestry sourced files organised so that I can share them with (non-family historian) relatives as I find them! For example, I've been "chatting" with a second cousin a lot this week because I've been finding newspaper clippings that verify what she thought she knew about her father but was never quite sure. Since I already have the newspaper clippings filed, it's easy for me to share what I have with her and to direct her to the original source material.

    I still haven't resolved (for my own satisfaction) whether it's necessary to have my own files as well as FTM's on the same hard drive. I was just curious about what everyone else does.

    That's a great idea. I formerly used Dropbox to communicate with members of another organisation but they've chosen to move on to something else and my DropBox has not been used since.

    I, occasionally, email my gedcom to myself or to my daughter, who uses another email service provider than I. That way it's saved on both email providers' systems too.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2017
  6. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Superstar

    I've now been using Dropbox to shuffle files between my home Mac and my work PC so that I can use Family Tree Analyser - keeping the extra space on it helps me share with other members of the family who don't live in close proximity to me too. Just last week I invited one of my paternal first cousins to the box, because she wanted to see the images of her father that I'd scanned (I'd given my uncle the originals, which he has since misplaced!)

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