*Using the media folder

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Linda Roos
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Using the media folder

Post by Linda Roos » 12 Apr 2018 18:23

I am having trouble deciding what to do with my media files. I have a genealogy folder in my dropbox account split into Dutch and English (for paternal and maternal) and then subfolders with the names of various major branches. Again subfolders for Photo’s, BMD, Parish, Census etc. But also for other various bits of information. I use FH for my english ancestors and a Dutch programme for my Dutch ancestors.
FH is installed on my desktop computer on my hard drive. I have read and looked at tutorials and I understand the advice is to have all of this in the media folder. But in the examples you have a media folder with subfolders BMD, Census etc. But in my case there would be hundreds of images in each folder and I don’t think I would be able to find anything anymore. But would it be OK to have 50 or more subfolders like I have now for different branches. And sub sub folders for BMD, Census etc.
Before I start moving everything around (and maybe back again) I would like to know how other people manage this. I know I could also link to the folders I have now. Many years ago I had it set up that way but at some point I ended up with hundreds of broken links. I gave up adding images then but would like to start over.
I would be grateful for any advice.

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Re: Using the media folder

Post by Gowermick » 12 Apr 2018 18:50

Linda,
Notwithstanding the advice to include all this in a media folder, I wouldn’t worry if you don’t wish to go down this route.

I for one, keep all my media files separate from the FH data. With gigabytes of media data, including census images, parish register images, photos etc, I can’t see any advantage of having it all within FH. With careful naming and organisation of my media files, I can quickly locate them if necessary. Others may disagree, which is their right.

Everyone has their own way of working, and whatever works for you is the best way for you to work. Don’t be pressurised into using FH in a way you are not comfortable with.
Mike Loney

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NickiP
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Re: Using the media folder

Post by NickiP » 12 Apr 2018 19:03

As Mike, I don't use the FH Media Folder. I have a folder called Genealogy (which is about 90gb in size) which is in a Folder called Docs located in the root of the hard drive (ie C:\Docs\Genealogy). I think have folders for Direct Ancestor surnames and sub folders for things like Census, UK BMDs, Wills, etc, with sub folders where appropriate for years or counties, and I just link to those images in Family Historian. As the main folder is located at the root of C:\ it is easy enough to transfer to another PC when I upgrade and I know its there (it also contains all my other saved files). As long as the Docs folder is transferred to the same location on a new PC, then broken links aren't an issue.

As someone who has been researching for 19 years I have basically developed a way of working and saving documents over the years and this reflects the way I do things. I also have four main Family Historian files, one for each grandparent, so do not work as many do with just one file so having all the media files stored in a single folder makes it easy to find things when I need to outside of FH, rather than having to look in four different media folders. Up until a few years ago I used to have separate FH files for each distinct Ancestor surname, as that is how I started out organising my research, but over the years as the research has expanded I decided to amalgamate them into just four files instead.

It is very much a personal choice and I know others will not agree, but I feel it depends on how you work and there is no right and wrong as long as you know where the files are located. I also prefer to have the Docs folder in the root of the hard drive as it helps minimise any issues with long file names that I have encountered in the past which won't copy when they exceed the maximum permitted. My Family Historian folder is also located in C:\Docs as the same folder level as Genealogy.

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BillH
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Re: Using the media folder

Post by BillH » 12 Apr 2018 19:35

Linda,

I have a separate folder in the media folder for each person in my database for which I have media. I put all media regardless of what it is in the folder for that person including photos, census records, BMD documents, etc. This way I can easily and quickly find the media for a specific person. For marriage information I put it in the folder for the husband. I also sometimes have a folder for just the surname if I have some media that isn't specific to a particular individual.

I have over a thousand sub folders in the Media folder and it works just fine. No problem for FH.

This is also how I keep the folders in My Documents that haven't been moved into the FH media folder. Again, this makes it very quick and easy to find a document.

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tatewise
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Re: Using the media folder

Post by tatewise » 12 Apr 2018 20:05

It is worthwhile understanding why the general advice is to keep your Media files within the FH Project Media folder.

It is mainly related to the Media record File Links that specify the file path and filename for the Media files.
If those get upset, they become broken File Links, that must be repaired, otherwise your Media is not displayed in FH.

If you have FH installed & synchronised on two PC, or you need to migrate FH from an old PC to a new PC, then those File Links must be the same on both PC to avoid being broken.

One way to achieve that is to keep your Media files within the FH Project Media folder.
Then the File Links hold the file path as relative to the Project folder, so the root of the file path is irrelevant.
It does not matter how the Project folder is moved, the File Links will never get broken.
When transferred from PC to PC the whole Project folder can be copied in one operation.
Also the FH Medium/Full Backup automatically includes all your Media files.

Another way is to manage your Media files such that the absolute file path will be the same on any PC.
NickiP achieves that by using C:\Docs\Genealogy\Media\... that can be recreated on any PC.
Similarly you could use D:\Media\... or C:\Users\Public\Media\... that can exist on any PC.
Then the File Links absolute file path is identical on every PC and does not get broken when moved from PC to PC.
However, moving from PC to PC requires two operations, one to copy the Project folder and another to copy the Media folder.
Also the FH Medium/Full Backup doe NOT include your Media files, which must be backed-up separately.

The problem comes when the Media file path root is such as C:\Users\Linda\Documents\Media\... and the username Linda cannot be recreated on another PC.
When the Project folder and Media folder are copied to another PC the File Links are likely to get broken.
However, as long as the Media sub-folder structure is kept intact there are tools to simplify the File Links repair.
Use the Tools > External File Links buttons Re-Map &/or Auto Repair Links to effect the repair.
As long as you are aware of why the links are broken, and the remedy, then it is not a big problem.

The bigger problem comes when Media files are scattered all over the filing system in a disorganised jumble.
Then it becomes much more difficult to repair the broken File Links when moved to a new PC with different path names.
Even copying all the necessary Media files is a challenge in this scenario.

In summary, if you organise your Media into a folder structure with one path root, then it's straightforward to migrate from PC to PC.
Since the FHUG tries to cater for users with a wide range of computer literacy, the simplest advice that avoids all the above challenges with migration and backups is to use the FH Project Media folder.
But if you know what you are doing with filing systems then those other options are perfectly OK.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Using the media folder

Post by BobWard » 12 Apr 2018 21:05

Mike,
You state: "Also the FH Medium/Full Backup doe NOT include your Media files, which must be backed-up separately."

Perhaps I am mis-interpreting this statement, but I was under the impression that a Full Backup in FH did copy all the media files that are in the FH Media folder.

I always do daily Full Backups on my desktop computer. On those occasions where I have Restored those Full Backups to my laptop, all my media files get restored to the laptop.

I keep all my media records in the default FH Media folder.

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tatewise
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Re: Using the media folder

Post by tatewise » 12 Apr 2018 21:36

Bob, if you fully check the section starting "Another way is to manage..." the Media files are NOT in the FH Media folder.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Using the media folder

Post by BobWard » 12 Apr 2018 22:15

Are you referring to different "media" files or perhaps "media" file locations?

My "media" files (jpeg & png) are all in the Media folder that is a sub-folder under my FH project folder.

As far as I can tell, all my media files are backed up when I do a Full Backup in FH. i know this to be true because they get restored when I do a Restore operation to another computer.

Sorry for the confusion, but my media files are all in my FH project Media folder, so I am not quite following what you are saying. I guess you may be referring to a somewhat non-standard media file location that is being used by NickiP?

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LornaCraig
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Re: Using the media folder

Post by LornaCraig » 12 Apr 2018 23:09

Linda,
FH will be able to cope with any folder structure you like within its Media folder. So you could simply copy or move the English section of your genealogy folder into the Media folder exactly as it is now arranged. If you want to continue to keep the files in Dropbox you could move the entire FH project folder to Dropbox.

Bob,
If you read Mike's reply carefully you will see that he is comparing two different ways of avoiding broken File Links when migrating from one computer to another.

He starts by saying "One way to achieve that is to keep your Media files within the FH Project Media folder." He concludes that paragraph by adding that "the FH Medium/Full Backup automatically includes all your Media files". This is the recommended method, and is what you do. This is why your Media files are included in the backup.

In the next paragraph he says "Another way is to manage your Media files such that the absolute file path will be the same on any PC" and concludes that paragraph with the disadvantages of this method, one of which is that "the FH Medium/Full Backup does NOT include your Media files, which must be backed-up separately." But this is not the method you use, so need not concern you.
Lorna

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tatewise
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Re: Using the media folder

Post by tatewise » 12 Apr 2018 23:32

All Lorna's points are absolutely correct.

If Linda chooses either of Lorna's suggestions, then the the File Links will need to be adjusted to benefit from having the Media files within the Project.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Using the media folder

Post by gwilym'smum » 13 Apr 2018 07:16

Hi I have categories for my media, including census images and birth marriage death, parish registers etc. I assign a short code at the beginning of the file name and then the images can be easily located, For example a 1841 census entry would be x4 Mayer 1841 Cain. The x puts the census images at the end, and then the surname gives the family in alphabetical order. For 1901 etc I use y01 or y11. I do the same with my sources. The files in My Documents are organized the same as those in FH.
I am not competent enough with computers to know where all the files are stored but this simple method works for me.
Good luck, reorganizing is always a big job!
Ann
Researching Mayer, Parr/Parr, Simcock, Beech and all related families

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DavidNewton
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Re: Using the media folder

Post by DavidNewton » 13 Apr 2018 08:29

Reading this thread makes clear the many different ways people use to store their media files. However, the FH Media Gallery has various ways to find any media record, including querying the file name, so I cannot see any real advantage to using Windows Explorer to find a media file.

David

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tatewise
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Re: Using the media folder

Post by tatewise » 13 Apr 2018 10:12

This thread is in danger of going off topic.
It is meant to be about the pros and cons of keeping Media files within the Project Media folder as opposed to externally elsewhere, and the impact of that decision on FH Backups and migrating FH from PC to PC.
It is NOT about how to organise Media files so they are easily searchable. That needs a new thread please.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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LornaCraig
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Re: Using the media folder

Post by LornaCraig » 13 Apr 2018 10:34

The original post did raise questions about how things could be arranged and how easy it would be to find them, so l think David's comment is relevant.
Linda Roos wrote:But in my case there would be hundreds of images in each folder and I don’t think I would be able to find anything anymore. But would it be OK to have 50 or more subfolders like I have now for different branches. And sub sub folders for BMD, Census etc.
Lorna

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Re: Using the media folder

Post by NickiP » 13 Apr 2018 10:49

tatewise wrote: Another way is to manage your Media files such that the absolute file path will be the same on any PC.
NickiP achieves that by using C:\Docs\Genealogy\Media\... that can be recreated on any PC.
Similarly you could use D:\Media\... or C:\Users\Public\Media\... that can exist on any PC.
Then the File Links absolute file path is identical on every PC and does not get broken when moved from PC to PC.
Just to clarify I do not have a Media folder within c:\Docs\Genealogy but one for each Direct Ancestor's unique surname as per attached example of a surname folder with subfolders. As has already been said, it is very much to each researcher's personal taste and way of working.
genealogy folder file structure example.JPG
genealogy folder file structure example.JPG (49.93 KiB) Viewed 2262 times
As Lorna has pointed out, Linda did refer to the issue of how to organise media in the folder when using the FH Media Folder for storage. The above is obviously an example of how I have mine are organised.
DavidNewton wrote:Reading this thread makes clear the many different ways people use to store their media files. However, the FH Media Gallery has various ways to find any media record, including querying the file name, so I cannot see any real advantage to using Windows Explorer to find a media file.
It very much depends on whether you want to view any of the documents independent of FH. I often go looking for things when checking some research. Its far easier to find a Will though Windows Explorer than to open it up via FH which involves more steps. If the document files are logically organised then its simple enough to find them. Again this is down to personal taste and how you work with your research. I also have to admit that I am still working my way though linking to media files in FH having only moved over to it 5 years ago but have been researching for 19 so have much that is still not linked. A laborious task which I am doing gradually.

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Re: Using the media folder

Post by davidm_uk » 13 Apr 2018 11:19

You do need to be aware that if the total path name to a file (eg. C:\Users\Public\Media\UK\Census\1851\London\Islington\Rogers\Frederick & Christine.jpg)
gets to be longer than 256 (I think) characters, including spaces, \, & etc. then some programs will object and not find the file, so you do need to take care with nesting folders to a fairly deep level.
David Miller - researching Miller, Hare, Walker, Bright (mostly Herts, Beds, Dorset and London)

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Re: Using the media folder

Post by tatewise » 13 Apr 2018 12:20

Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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