Week Six

Making Your CD's Work For You

I have briefly touched on this subject in previous entries in the organization section.

I am hoping to be able to get a bit more involved with this particular entry though. This week we will be working with mainly your mailbox/mail systems; and how they relate to the CD storage use. As there are just literally tons of different mail systems out there, it would be rather impossible for me to name them all. For myself, I use the Microsoft Outlook system so for the purposes of this section, I will be basing my tips on that. Regardless of which system you use, they do all have one main thing in common.

Each one has the capacity to create a folder sorting/storing system within them. I cannot however direct everyone to just how to create those folders in all the different systems. If you should wish to privately contact me for assistance with the Outlook system, I will be happy to assist you.

The procedure you will use in which folders to create will be similar to the way we created the various folders in your filing cabinet. These must be based on YOUR OWN PERSONAL RESEARCH and needs.

However, I would in generality suggest that you create a folder for each of the following: Your main family surname; perhaps within that one some of the smaller surnames that you are CURRENTLY researching. You don't want to clutter up your mailbox with a zillion folders of names you are really working on right now. In order to cover those various other surnames; I would suggest creating one folder called FAMILY MISCELLANEOUS. I use the "family" wording also as you will most likely have use of just a simple "Miscellaneous" folder in your email for items received not related to researching. Within this "Family Miscellaneous" will go any items that you are not actively researching, but you might suddenly receive something on; if it should parlay itself into something more, you can surely create a new folder just for that surname.

You may also wish to create a folder for persons that you regularly correspond with in your research. I am not referring to ALL the people, just the select few chosen ones. You might be wondering why I haven't mentioned anything about a folder for attachments or for photographs. The answer is that you won't (or shouldn't be) saving those whole emails. I will get into what to do with those in just a moment.

Now, you should have created all of those folders, what are you going to do with them?

When you open your mailbox and you read your emails, you should follow this procedure (for items WITHOUT attachments):

Read your email

Preferably answer your email or let it set for a moment if you need to find something to do so.

After answering each email, you should:

(a)If you decide it is something worth saving, place it into the appropriate folder you have created

(b)Delete and discard it.

Many persons don't realize that their mailbox system is not just of an infinite size, there are limits to its capacity. That is why I urge you to discard it immediately after reading it if it isn't to be stored. Once this procedure becomes a habit, it will be very easy to follow.


As mentioned previously, space in the mailbox is not limitless. It would be a shame to receive the "one piece of the puzzle" only to have it bounced out again unread due to space constraints!

Don't ask me to explain this next piece as I cannot. I only offer it as a caution to you. In the past, I myself have used certain email servers/mail systems that once I have opened an email with an attachment I may let it sit and re-open later to find my attachment GONE. Like I said, cannot explain it, it just happens.

Once you have opened the email with the attachment/photo; I am also trusting that it is a "given" that you use caution in opening these; ANYWAY, once you have opened the attachment/photo, you will save it to another section of your computer OUTSIDE YOUR MAILBOX, such as "My Documents" or another designated area that you can remember. As photos/maps and anything of that nature take up a tremendous amount of space, you will want these out of your mailbox. If for some reason, such as explanations/descriptions you should need to retain the actual text of that email sending those attachments; please follow these directions:

Click on your start button

Click on programs

Click on the Accessories button

Somewhere in there, should be an option for a little blue notepad looking thing (it is called a notepad).

Clicking on that will allow a blank page to appear.

Simply cut and paste the text of your email on to that page (contact me if you need directions in doing that). Make certain to include the section with the sender's email on it (or add it yourself).

You can then click on "File" in the upper left, click on "Save As", name it something relevant to the text material and save it to "my documents".

At that point, (after assuring that the copied material was actually saved) DISCARD the original email.

DON'T FORGET to periodically empty your "Deleted Items" folder in the mailbox section.


Now this is important if your use of folders is to be a any use to you at all. About once a week, (this can be adjusted depending on your volume of email received) get out your CD's and go through your mailbox folders. Save those stored emails to the appropriate CD. You may find that you really don't wish to save them after all. After storing all of them to their own CD's and checking that it was successful, delete the emails and empty deleted items folder.

Next: Go to the "My Documents" folder on your desktop (or wherever you saved you attachements/photos to) and follow the same procedure in placing them on the appropriate CD for storage. After making certain that they "made the trip" DELETE THE ITEMS.

In following the above procedures, your CD's become a useful tool in storage, allow for ease of finding and remove items from your computer to: (1) make room for other items; (2) limit the possibility of being lost in the event of a computer crash.

The above items may sound time consuming, but once you start doing it, they become very easy and not consuming at all.