Finish Something

Yesterday, while Papa worked, I actually finished something. Not easy, but in keeping with my March resolution to waste less time, I really buckled down.

In the course of visits to various libraries, cemeteries, and archives, I’ve managed to assemble a ton of material which is floating around my computer in digital format. There are obituaries, headstone photos, wills, images from city directories, you name it, I’ve got it. Yesterday, I edited about 350 of those digital files. A lot of this consists of sharpening the photo, and cutting off my fingers, the surrounding table and so on. However, I have plenty of fingers left in the pictures, D1 recently said, “Look, your hands preserved for posterity!” Then I rename them to what they actually are, instead of the number the camera gives. For instance, John_Doe_obit. When I’m feeling fancy, I use a little tool called Photo Info to add information to the digital file, the repository where I found the information, the book and page, or whatever. You can also add keywords, which really help later if you are looking for a certain file, or information on a certain person. Just to sound organized, here’s what I do with digital evidence, scans, photos and the like:

1. Create a folder with the repository and date, copy the images into it. For instance, “lakeview_howell_mi_7-2007”.
2. Create a sub-folder, copy the original files into it, name it “unedited”.
3. Edit each photo in a folder with Photoshop, straighten, sharpen, crop, brighten, whatever.
4. Combine images. Sometimes I have the bottom half and the top half of a page. I just increase the canvas size of the top half of the page, and paste the bottom half into position.
5. Add keywords, repository information and so on with Photo Info.
6. Move the folder and it’s sub-folder and paste them into a file structure I have for the digital archives for my research efforts. I have folders for families, for places and so on. I have one for cemetery photos, and each set of sub-folders in it represents a time a place I visited a cemetery.
7. Copy the newly named and processed files into a folder structure that contains my genealogy program. I have a folder called “newpics”, creative, isn’t it? I use it as a holding place for images which need to be attached to my genealogy program. When I’m ready to do a batch of them I move them into the folder creatively named “related images” as I attach them to my genealogy file.

I know it’s crazy, but everyone has a system. When I’m done with a group of files, I have an archive of photos taken or scans made from a time and place, and an identical set attached to my genealogy file as evidence. Besides all that, in my archive, I have all the original photos and scans to go back and look at if I have a question.

I’m not finished, or even caught up, but I’m closer than I was.

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