organize photosRecently I heard from John B., who asked a question I get a lot these days:

“Hello, Lisa,

I’ve enjoyed listening to your podcasts for a couple years now. However, I think you have given me a new choice to make. Some time back I watched your video on how to organize your genealogical files on your hard drive. That was by making folders for each family name, and then within those folders make a set of other folders for certificates, documents, obituaries, etc, I’ve found it to be a great yet simple process–except I am struggling with moving photos from all over my PC to the correct folders.

Well, I’ve just finished viewing “Organize your research with Evernote”. It appears that using the “tags” will be easier and make searching more rapid. So I am wondering if you think this new Evernote product is the way to go instead, or in addition to, the digital folders?  What say you, my Genealogical Guru?”

Here’s what I told him:

“It’s a really good question and here’s my personal take on whether to use Evernote to organize photos. (I say personal because in the end it will be decided by what works for YOU.)

I do not add all my photos to Evernote – rather I store them on the hard drive. The reason is simple: photos are large files and will eat up your free Evernote upload limit for the month pretty quickly. If you are an Evernote Premium member, this is not as much of an issue because you get up 1 GB of uploads a month.

Another reason is the sheer volume of photos that already exist on my hard drive. I add photos by dragging and dropping them in to notes only as I need them for genealogy projects I’m working on. I view these as “working files” and consider the photos on my hard drive the “master files.”

An example of why I might upload some photos to Evernote would be when I was working on unidentified photos. I created a notebook of them and shared the notebook with a distant cousin. As we discusses and identified them I was able to keep a note trail regarding the conclusions. When a photo was solidly identified, I also went back to my master photo on my hard drive and updated the name of the file to reflect the identification.

So, yes, it is a bit time consuming to collect the photos from around your hard drive to get them into the photo folders, but to me, it was worth it. Now that it’s done, finding and filing photos is always super easy. Here’s a video on my YouTube channel that you might find helpful that discusses photo filing, naming and metadata. Hope that helps – good for you for getting organized!”

More Resources

How to Get Started in Evernote, and the Ultimate Evernote Education

Should Evernote be my Digital Archive?

Genealogy Gems Premium MembershipPremium members on my website also have access to the video tutorials, “Hard Drive Organization, Parts 1 and 2. (Learn more about Premium membership here.) Premium members can also watch an entire series on using FREE Evernote software to keep your genealogy research organized.

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