It has taken me a couple of days to figure out exactly what I needed to do next.

I used to dump any new media into the media folder thinking that I would go link it up later – bad idea, very bad idea. I now have media files in my media folder that have never been linked up and I have no idea which ones they are. The only way I can think of to remedy this is to copy all the records over to another folder and then add/link them back up one-at-a-time. Argh! Don’t you just hate it when you mess yourself up like that?

Step 2 is to move ALL of your files (as opposed to those that you have downloaded from Ancestry – see Step 1) to a different directory – a ‘holding directory’ if you will.

  1. Backup your database and your media. Do a hard disk backup for good measure.
  2. Open a Finder window, locate your media directory and create a new directory on the same level as your media directory. Refer to Finder Help for info on how to create directories if needed.
  3. Select and drag all of your media files to the new ‘holding directory’.
  4. Goto the Media Workspace in FTM but keep your Finder window open.
  5. When you find a media item that belongs back in the original folder use the Finder window to move it back (it may be helpful to have 2 Finder windows open: one for the ‘holding directory’ and one for the media directory). Note: Now is a great time to rename the file if you like. I am naming ‘my’ media with prefixes using the categories that I have set up in FTM (I do NOT recommend renaming downloaded Ancestry media). Here are some of my categories: Birth Records, Books, Census (I have a categories for each year and one for State Census – these are all Ancestry downloaded files though), Church Records, City Directories, Death Records, Documents, Immigration/Passenger, Land Records, Letters, Marriage Records, Military Records, Newspaper Articles, Obituaries, Other, Photos-People, Photos-Places, Sons of Am Rev, Tax Records, Tombstones, Voter Records, Wills. You don’t have to use the ones that I have and yours could be completely different depending on what records you have found on  your own. I like to use a filename convention (fancy way to say consistent filename pattern) like this: Media Category-LAST NAME, First Name (Maiden Name). This helps group all the same names together so I can easily see if I have duplicate media items and having the maiden name is just-plain-helpful.
  6. Next I am use the color tags available in my Finder window to mark the completed media file with a green dot. I don’t usually use color coding but I think this is a good application. I will mark problem files with red so that I can work on them at a later date. It’s always nice to be able to complete a task without getting completely derailed by little problems that come up. Be sure to make a note so that you don’t forget to go back and clean up any red tagged media files.
  7. Now you can relink the media in FTM with the media in the directory. In the Media Workspace click the broken link (it should be in red) and then select ‘Manually search for this file.”
  8. When the window opens you can either navigate to the directory/file OR you can drag the file file from your Finder window. I find the later method to be quick and easy.

This isn’t a quick process, especially when I have 1,000+ media items to go through but it will insure that all of the files are named correctly and are linked correctly.

Note to self: Always keep new media files in another folder until they are properly named and linked!

Does this make sense to you? Do you have a better method? I’m all ears.

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2 thoughts on “HOW TO ORGANIZE MEDIA – STEP 2

  1. Hello, I just discovered your blog. I am a longtime FTM user and waited until FTM for Mac came out before transitioning to a Macintosh computer. With regards to Media files that I find that I don’t quite have the time to properly cite and link to FTM, I have a folder on my desktop called “Genealogy To File.” I’m embarrassed to say that there are way too many items in there; it’s become a holding place. Since I started this system I found that I often forgot what the source was for a media item, so now I either create a .txt file with the source or I take a screen shot of the the source (like at GenealogyBank).


    • tnashsycamore says:

      Glad you found the blog! Media files can get to be overwhelming for sure. Hope my methods were helpful. Stay tuned. I have another post coming on this too!


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