Family History

Organizing Media in Family Tree Maker

I use FTM for my genealogy. Over the past few days I have been working on organizing the media. I have over 8600 media items. Most of them are the source images from Ancestry. I leave the source images alone, but I do categorize them. For the rest of the media I’ve decided to edit the captions to make identifying them easier when I’m in the media view. I put the last name of the principal person in all caps at the beginning of the caption. FTM lists all the media alphabetically. If I have the last name first all my media will be alphabetized. There are some media where this method does not work. Those are very rare instances. I’ve been trying to make a note of those so I can attach them to other people in my tree later. For an example of the caption/indexing result here I am in the “Media” tab under “Collection” tab with the media category “Photos” selected.


While working in media, I have also been renaming files. Again, I am attempting to have them index alphabetically, not just in FTM but also in my Windows Explorer. I do not have them all named properly yet. Ideally the naming process will be lastnamefirstnames-birthyear-deathyear-descriptionifnecessary-01(etc.) As I cannot see the dates in the media view most of them do not have the birth and death years yet.


If there is a media item that has more than one person I will put the principal person first and then after their deathyear- I will put the other people firstnamelastname- and then the description, if necessary. For example, here are my grandparents. I need to go look up their birth and death years because I do not have them memorized.

Fullscreen capture 6162017 41059 PM

By naming my files this way, they index alphabetically and I know which person it refers to as there are a few people with the same name.

This is an extremely long process. I highly suggest deciding on a standard naming convention for your media files when you are just starting so you don’t have to go through this. I also have a few duplicate files that I need to delete.




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