Wednesday, December 28, 2011

FTM2012 and AMT - Filenaming and Captions

As with much of what we do, in Family Tree Maker, or any other genealogy program, we should take a few minutes to think about how we want to handle "things". Unknown Names, for example. This isn't about Unknown names, as I have posted about that before. Suggestion has been to try it as far as Data Input, Finding that entry while working on the file, and How does it look in the Output.

FTM2012, for me, has made me go back and relook at two items. File Names and Captions for Media Files. What is new, is how the Captions appear in the Ancestry Member Tree (AMT), now that we have the TreeSync™ feature. The AMT does not deal with File Names, but it does rely on the Captions that we put on those media files.

For Consideration:
  • Sorting by Filename
  • Sorting by Caption
  • Use of Categories
  • Use of Windows Explorer (or Finder for the Mac)
We use Media files for a Person, and for a Citation image. We attach or Link a Media file to a Source, Citation so that we have easy access when working with a specific Fact that has a Citation with a Media File.

We should consider how the Gallery Looks in the AMT, for ourselves and others that find out Online Tree.

File Names:

The file name format that I use for Federal Census Reports is:


When the Sort by Caption is turned OFF,  in the Tools, Options menu, in the Media Workspace, all of the Census Records will be seen, sorted by the State (ST), then County, they by City or the next Jurisdiction on the Census Record. That is followed by the Head of Household's Surname, and the Preferred Name that I have selected for the Name Fact.

Note: Users may handle Census Records differently, but over time, I have found that I do all of the Census Record based on the Head of Household. It has become much easier for me. If I have a 'hit' on a child or non-head of household, I will select the Head of Household and do the Web Merge based on that Head of Household. Another User's preference.

One of the benefits of this, is when looking or comparing the number of Media files with Windows Explorer.

Note: I choose to keep ALL of the Media Files, for a family file in the < family file > Media folder.

If there is a number of files / media item difference, between with FTM2012 and in Windows Explorer, I can pretty quickly see files that are not in my file naming convention.

For Census Records, and the Caption, I reverse the format a little:

Preferred Name Surname - YYYY United States Federal Census

Again, this is something to think about. What looks good for YOU.

So, when the Sort is changed to be by Caption, then any Media file for that person will be listed and sorted.

I wouldn't look at the Media Workspace to determine WHO has a Census Record, but I would see what Census Record a person has in the People Workspace, Family View, Media Tab for the selected person (Right Hand Panel). I would also see who is listed in the Census Record by looking at the Links tab in the Sources Workspace, and selecting the Census Record Citation.

The use of Categories of the Media Files are also helpful. In use Census - Federal and Census - State Categories.

This has been helpful for me, no matter which Sort is used, Caption or Filename.

Keeping this in mind and expanding that to Person Media Files, those Media Items in the Peple Workspace, Person View, Media Tab (left, half way down the screen), the Captions that I use are very similar

Preferred Name Surname - YYYY - Event

This continues the Sorting by Date, but see the Event as well. 1955 - Birthday Party, for example. So, looking at the Media tab for a person, the sorting is by Date for that person. At this point, that format has worked for me in the AMT Gallery.

The file naming for a Person's media is different, for me, then the file naming for a Census Record. I prefer to see my Census Records grouped, both within FTM2012 and with Windows Explorer, by date. The grouping for a Person, I want to see that persons pictures grouped together.


When I use the term Surname, for a female, that is the Birth Surname.

Again, the Sort by Caption or Sort by File Name is not an issue but it DOES keep a person's media files organized.

But, what if I have 5 names in a row (PreferredNameSurname) how to tell the difference? I add the birth year following the Surname.

Lesson Learned: Try different ways of handling Media Files, Captions and File Names and determine what works for you.

I have redone this structure several times, and with the TreeSync feature I am revisiting it again. Thought I would share this experience here. Please feel free to comment on your  experience.

Thank you.

Copyright © 2011 by H R Worthington

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