Bruce’s Filing Cabinet 3 – Inward correspondence

At the 4th Annual TMG Sydney Conference in April 2011 Bruce Fairhall, Convenor of the conference, shared with us his methods for using TMG as his filing cabinet. He gave us a four-page handout which he has kindly allowed me to share on the blog. This the the third of four posts.

INWARDS CORRESPONDENCE

1.    I use the Lackey descriptions for Sources, as it is not really the type of source I am interested in but where/who it came from.  I do not see myself writing a book with full bibliography, and so the definitive splits used by Mills were overkill to me.

2.    Emails are classed as Letters because they are!  If an email just has a few bits of information, I cite that as to person (each person is a Source) and add the Citation Detail like Email: 23 July 2010.  Then I delete the email as I know WHO provided that information and when.  In that way, I might not have the actual evidence but I know who to contact (or blame) for a certain piece of data.

3.    I was initially filing emails in sub-folders of my Inbox relevant to the family (Fairhall –NSW, Fairhall -Canada etc.) but it became too hard to locate them once their numbers swelled, and if I’d transcribed the contents it should become either a “Letter” or just delete it as I’d probably never need to refer to it again, as per the next point.  If an email contains lots of data (subjective) I print it out and file it like a real written letter.

4.    I use TMG to file my informants and family’s email addresses, with a special Tag.  This has the added advantage of allowing me to keep the date of last contact, so in some cases there will be doubt as whether that email address may not be the current one.

The Tag sentence for Emails is:   [:CR:] [PP] EMail address <[D]> was [M]

Then I have a report to output those email addresses with some details of the person:

My Report is a special LIST OF EVENTS

Filter called List of Email Addresses.

( Principal-1 LIVING=Y  OR Principal-1 LIVING= ? )  AND TAG TYPE  LABEL=EMAIL END

Options for the Report Output:   Heading/Length

1 Prin-1 Surname (Selected) = Surname/15

2 Prin-1 Given = Given Name/15

Date – Year = Year/4

Memo=Email Address/40

Prin-1 ID =P1_ID/6

5.    I have a TMG Tag LETTERS.  This is used for any person who has sent me a “letter”.  It is used without a date or sort date to the Tag so it displays at the top of the person Tags.  In the MEMO field I list the file numbers of letters that person wrote to me as they are dealt with: 2007-34; 2007-78; 2009-12; 2010-32 etc.

The sentence for the tag reads: [P] was the author of letter/s ref: [M]

Then when I look at the data for someone in my database I know what letters they wrote and I can locate those letters if needed.  It can also be a List of Events Report from TMG if needed, but the printout could be rather large!!

6.    Each Letter is numbered at lower right on the front page, with the year it was written and a number in sequence as I dealt with it.  I don’t get too hung up about this as it’s just a filing system!  So the first letter/substantive email I dealt with in 2010 is numbered 2010-1, the next is 2010-2 and so on.  They are filed in that sequence in folders, so the file builds up as the year progresses.  Sometimes I open up a letter written last year that for some reason I’d ignored and held: it is numbered 2009-xx after whatever was the last of that year’s letters – no stress!

Note:  This process has been documented for sharing with other TMG users, and is not copyright or secret.  I’d appreciate suggestions as to better clarity etc. if any changes to this procedure might make it easier for others to understand it.  It is MY system, and that doesn’t mean it’s right or the best: the main thing is that it works for me.

Bruce’s website is www.fairhall.id.au

Next week – Informants and Sources

Bruce’s Filing Cabinet 2 – Exhibits

At the 4th Annual TMG Sydney Conference in April 2011 Bruce Fairhall, Convenor of the conference, shared with us his methods for using TMG as his filing cabinet. He gave us a four-page handout which he has kindly allowed me to share on the blog. This the the second of four posts.

EXHIBITS

1.    The system for exhibits and other references revolves around the Person ID# as allocated by TMG.  So, with my system now running I cannot totally renumber my people, but why would I want to?  Before implementing it, I moved some people around by renumbering single persons, then renumbered my whole data from ID#1 (me).  If I delete a person, or do a Merge Persons, I use that “spare” number later, by pressing F2 on the Add Person screen, then I can select and use that unused number so it’s not wasted.  So every person in my data set has a fixed ID number.

2.    All exhibits are External, and are in a folder named \Exhibits (in a customised location so I can find it easily!!).  Turn on Thumbnails and the images can be seen.  Perhaps I could have had sub-folders with Primary, Images, Certificates, Documents etc. all separated – but if I have just the one large folder I can easily see what exhibits I have for any given person.

3.    I use leading zeros so any sorting of my exhibits would put them in numerical order, and all people are nominally given 6 digits when I name my exhibits.  This was very optimistic as potentially it gave me “space” in my data for 999,999 people – probably five digits (capability 99,999 people) would have been sufficient!  So TMG Person #1234 is called 001234 for filing exhibit purposes.  Any exhibit for that person has the number 001234 at the start of its file name.  Then when that folder is sorted according to “File Name”, all the exhibits for each person are viewable together because the first 6 digits are the ID number.

4.    Exhibits are named by person Surname –Given Name then a description of what the exhibit is.  I started this a bit late and so what could be a strict naming system isn’t!  It could be very tightly defined.  So, some exhibits for our TMG #1234 could be like:

001234 Bright –John BCert 1876.jpg

001234 Bright –John MCert 1900.jpg

001234 Bright –John EngineerCert 1927.gif

001234 Bright –John DCert 1953.jpg

001234 Bright –John Biography.rtf

and so on …

5.    If I have documents (photocopies or originals) I copy them then place them into a Family Documents lever arch file with that ID# at top right, in numerical order.  So all documents relating to John Bright would be at 1234 in my folder.  Marriage Certificates are a problem, so I number by which party is closest to my line, whether the male or female (my discretion – as it’s only a system not a definitive process!!).  The folders have dividers for each thousand, and at the front is a print out (Word file) that is an index in Surname, Given Name order with the ID#.  So a marriage certificate will be indexed under both parties.  If I want to find Alfred Gumbleton, I look in the index under Gumbleton, Alfred and he is ID #3022 so at that location in the lever arch file will be any documents for him.  Likewise William Fairhall ID #2766.

6.    Other exhibits are usually attached via the relevant Tag, so Marriage Certificate, wedding groups etc. are attached to the Marriage Tag, headstone photographs to the Burial Tag etc.

7.    I really need to include original photo prints in this system, but haven’t done so yet.  It would be possible to have plastic sleeves with the prints filed again in TMG ID# order, with an index at the front.  Finding suitable plastic archival sleeves, to cater for several sizes of prints, was my main stumbling block, but I have one from Gould’s that will do the job.  Or I could combine it with my document index.  One day …

8.    I attach a primary exhibit (portrait or similar) to the person using the Exhibit icon on the toolbar.  The Reference field in the TMG Properties is the name of the person who provided it.  I also include that name in the Exhibit Description, as:  Birth Certificate – John Bright 1876 (from Fred Bright).

9.    I have some special Tags for family groups (IMG-Family), historical photos/images (IMG-Hist), Wills that are in a text (.rtf) format (DOC-Will) and so on. As my major archive is in HTML format via Second Site, my exhibits then are icons attached to the relevant Tag sentence, and can be opened easily by the viewer.

10.   I do have a few exhibits that are photos of e.g. a church used by several people, a document about a ship on which several people travelled etc.  These exhibits are given a descriptive file name so I can refer to them as needed – no numbering is included as they don’t refer to a specific person.

11.   Exhibit size for image scans or cropped photos etc. has been roughly standardised as follows:

- Scans of precious documents/photos are filed apart from TMG, full size scans in .PNG or .TIF format in 300dpi

- Primary exhibits (portraits) are scanned to 75-95 dpi, and approx. 300 pixels high (see web site) which displays as a good size image in Second Site (see web site).  Thumbnails in TMG Preferences are set to 200 pixels which is good in the TMG people data screen.

- Other exhibits are scanned 75-95 dpi, up to 950 pixels wide for portrait orientation images and up to 650 pixels high for landscape orientation.  Viewers can scan up/down or across with keyboard to view the whole image in Second Site etc.  Older monitors are 72/75dpi, but more recent monitors are closer to 95dpi – but there is little viewing difference.  My current monitor has a screen 410mm (17.4”) wide set to 1440 pixel resolution and it is therefore operating at 83dpi.

Note:  This process has been documented for sharing with other TMG users, and is not copyright or secret.  I’d appreciate suggestions as to better clarity etc. if any changes to this procedure might make it easier for others to understand it.  It is MY system, and that doesn’t mean it’s right or the best: the main thing is that it works for me.

Bruce’s website is www.fairhall.id.au

Next week – Inward correspondence

Bruce’s Filing Cabinet 1 – Addresses and Telephone Numbers

At the 4th Annual TMG Sydney Conference in April 2011 Bruce Fairhall, Convenor of the conference, shared with us his methods for using TMG as his filing cabinet. He gave us a four-page handout which he has kindly allowed me to share on the blog. I will be posting the handout over the next few weeks on the following topics:

  • Addresses and telephone numbers
  • Exhibits
  • Inward correspondence
  • Informants and source
First up – Addresses and Telephone Numbers.

ADDRESSES/RESIDENCES

1. In the default set up for TMG, the Tags Address and Residence are similar but use slightly different Sentences. The default Sentence for Address:

<As of [D],> [P] and [PO] lived at [L]

will give errors for a date range, so I substituted

[:CR:] The recorded address <[D]> for [P] <and [PO]> was: [L]

2. I use the Address Tag is used to record an address (e.g. a Post Office Box) where it is not the person’s Residence. This is therefore not used very often, but if you wish it could be a duplicate (generally) of the Residence Tag. (Ref: Lee Hoffman or Terry Reigel somewhere)

This Tag could be used to generate a Report showing Residence locations of certain database members, perhaps sorted by town, or an Excel file as the report output, to use as a mailing list for Reunions or similar purposes.

3. To assist sharing (privacy) I added a Tag Residence-Historic which is implemented once all connected persons are deceased. This can then be shared in Reports. My male sentence is:

[:CR:] He <|and [PO]> lived <at [L2]> <in [L]> <[M]> <[D]>

TELEPHONE NUMBERS

1. I use the default Tag for Telephone numbers, rather than including the number with the person’s Residence or Address, so it is separately listed.

2. In the Addressee field, I add what is listed in the Directory (if applicable) as this is often initials only.

3. I put the actual phone number in the MEMO field, so it shows on screen and could be easily sorted or included in a “reverse directory” if required.

Note:  This process has been documented for sharing with other TMG users, and is not copyright or secret.  I’d appreciate suggestions as to better clarity etc. if any changes to this procedure might make it easier for others to understand it.  It is MY system, and that doesn’t mean it’s right or the best: the main thing is that it works for me.

Bruce’s website is www.fairhall.id.au

Next week – Exhibits

Share your data on the web

At the 4th Annual TMG Sydney Weekend Conference on 9 April 2011 at Penrith, NSW, Australia, which is continuing as I write this, we had a discussion on putting  TMG data on the web. Slides were written as the discussion progressed.

We talked about the reasons for sharing, or not sharing, and how much to share. The slides are available here to view, or you can go to Scribd, a free document publishing and sharing site, and download them directly.