Genealogy basics

Do you have a family history mess?

Do you have piles of paper that you’ve collected over the years or that you’ve inherited?
MessI’ve had the opportunity this summer to help a few people organize decades of accumulated genealogy. It’s a big project and often overwhelming. Fortunately we’re moving from a paper society to a digital one. Does that sound enticing? So, where do you begin?

First, if you haven’t already, choose a platform to host your genealogy, whether it be on your computer or the web.  Click HERE for more suggestions. If you have a GEDCOM or even a PAF file, you can upload it to your chosen genealogy program.

Decide what type of organization for digital and remaining paper records would work for you. For organizational suggestions, click HERE. Once you’ve chosen, be consistent.

Upload your precious family photos and certificates to your genealogy program (click HERE for suggestions), saving the digital copy and filing the original according to your organizational plan. Many sources like census records are very easily found now. There is no need to keep the copies like we did in the past; besides they are easier to view online anyway. Be sure the source is attached to your individual and then discard it! (yes, I said it) While you’re discarding, go ahead and get rid of all those pedigree charts and family group sheets. Just be sure the information is in your genealogy file first.

It will take a while, but slowly chip away at it and you’ll be so pleased with the results. Don’t forget to backup your file (check your program for instructions). Save backups in various locations (not just one computer, it may crash).

The rewards… you’ve opened the door to easily sharing with others. You can distribute copies of precious family photos and such with a click, ensuring their survival. And most of all, you’ve simplified your life which leads to peace and happiness!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or suggestions. Good luck!

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