Category Archives: Records

Naming Electronic Files

Like most genealogists, I love details. They work for me; meaning, I put them to work! I find, rearrange, and analyze details to help solve some of the most challenging research problems. I also use this affinity for details to get my computer to work for me. I enjoy finding new ways to streamline my genealogy research. I like to work quickly, effectively and efficiently.

One of the goals I had when I began electronically filing my research findings and images was to create a sound and consistent way to name genealogy files so that:

  • I can easily find the files again
  • the file names automatically sort in a meaningful way
  • no matter how many times a female in my ancestry married or remarried, I could find her electronic files.

I did it!

After a few incarnations, this is what I settled on. This is how I name my electronic files:

[surname (for males) maiden surname (for females)][first name][middle name][birth year][date of event or date document created][event or document name]

Example: The electronic file name of the death certificate of Jane (Mintus)(Jones) Handel born 1876 and died 1941.

  • Mintus Jane b1876 1941 Death.jpg

Example: The electronic file name of the scanned marriage certificate for Jane (Mintus) Jones born 1876 married 1896.

  • Mintus Jane b1876 1896 Marriage.jpg

Example: Autobiography dated 1932 of Jane (Mintus)(Jones) Handel born 1876 and died 1941.

  • Mintus Jane b1876 1932 Biography.jpg

Example: Samuel Jones’s marriage in 1915. He was born 1875.

  • Jones Samuel b1875 1915 Marriage.jpg

The four electronic files (above) will be automatically sorted by the operating system alphabetically. First, by name and then chronologically by date of birth and then chronologically again by date of event. The sorted list will be filed in your computer like this:

  • Jones Samuel b1875 1915 Marriage.jpg
  • Mintus Jane b1876 1896 Marriage.jpg
  • Mintus Jane b1876 1932 Biography.doc
  • Mintus Jane b1876 1941 Death.jpg

This same approach can be used for family photos and other types of documents associated with a particular name, client, company, etc.

Isn’t this cool? The filing work for all the electronic files is all done instantly by your computer … and it is just based on what you name your electronic files! With a consistent naming system (even if you re-invent some variation of this) you’ll be able to find your electronic files quickly and easily.

Vinton County Ohio, Probate Case Files 1850-1864, Box 33-38, G-H

Below is an incomplete (a work in process) list of case file papers filed in Vinton County, Ohio. The original records are online at and there are a total of 1945 images. Most files deal with the estates of deceased persons, however, there are cases involving lunacy, minors, criminals, and more.

  • Catherine Graham Box 33 Image 1
  • Jack Grimes Box 33 Image 86
  • Ichabod Gummons Box 33 Image 117
  • Alfred B. Gray & Charles Gray Box 33 Image 192
  • Ely Gray Box 33 Image 233
  • E. H. Gabe (lunacy) Box 34 Image 330
  • Samuel N. Gadd Box 34 Image 340
  • John Gagan Box 34 Image 348
  • William D. Gale Box 34 Image 353
  • Owen Gallagher (lunacy) Box 34 Image 361
  • Peter Gallagher Box 34 Image 383
  • John Gibson and Sarah Gibson (minors) Box 34 Image 475
  • George A. Gold and William D. Gold (minors) Box 34 Image 481
  • Michael Giles Box 34 Image 493
  • John P. Glasgow Box 34 Image 497
  • Gustav Gossman Box 34 Image 520
  • George W. Grady, Earl P. Grady, William J. Grady (minors) Box 34 Image 532
  • Joseph Gregg Box 34 Image 549
  • Loton S. Green Box 34 Image 555
  • Thomas A. Green, Mary Green, Milton Green, Harriet Green (minors) Box 34 Image 360
  • Thomas A. Green Box 34 Image 621
  • William Green Box 34 Image 671
  • Smith Grubbs Box 34 Image 705
  • Catherine Gunning (lunacy) Box 34 Image 711
  • Martha A. Gunning Box 34 Image 721
  • David Gregory Box 35 Image 752