Alright, so I’m ready to get started on our Family History Album. I’ve got a lot I want to share with interested relatives and hopefully an artistic work of art that will be of interest and enjoyment for generations to come. I’ve got the photo editing software downloaded and am ready to begin.
But wait .. there’s one more thing that can make the whole process so much easier and have the added benefit of helping with ones genealogy research. What is it? Well, it’s organization. Yes, I need to be sure I know what I have gathered about each ancestor, each generation, etc and more important .. where it is on my computer. Once you know what you have and where it is, the process of putting it into the album is a lot more efficient and enjoyable.
My recommendation is to take a look at the information supplied by Sassy Jane Genealogy. I purchased her guide: Organizing Genealogy Research to learn how to get some semblance of order for all the documentation that I’ve found over the years. I’ve used her six folder digital filing system on my computer and it has proved to be an excellent means of storing all my genealogy records. Without organization, you’ll waste a lot of time trying to find something that you know you have but just can’t put your finger on where it is. The added advantage is that by organizing your collection of documents and sources you’ll find where there are gaps and do a better job of researching each ancestor that you’ll be including in your digital genealogy scrapbook.
I think you’ll find, as I did, that if you organize first, you’ll have a much easier and enjoyable experience in the long run. So give it a try .. I don’t think you’ll regret it!
One thing is for sure when it comes to Genealogy Research … it’s never done. No sooner do you make it past your great-great grandparents and you think that there is no possible way to find anything more. After all there’s the problem with the census that was destroyed by fire or the church records seem to be available for the year before their birth or the year after their birth but not the years surrounding their birth. And then there is always that elusive maiden name of your great-grandmother’s mother or the father of that illegitimate child. Whatever it is, we then seem to assume we can no longer go on … That’s just when something like Find-A-Grave, or a newpaper obituary, or Familytree DNA appears and we are finally able to work through or around that brick wall only to reach another.
Do we wait until we’re sure we’ve uncovered every possible bit of information about all 64 or 128 great-great-grandparents? I can express with confidence, we’ll never be “done”. There is always more to learn about who we are and where we came from. Meanwhile, the longer we delay in recording what we know, the more we risk losing the opportunity to share what we’ve already learned.
My suggestion: start with what you already know. Take a parent or a sibling or a grandparent and make a list of everything that you know about them. Not just birth, marriage and death date and location. What about the stories you remember from your childhood, the family traditions, the photos in the shoebox, the documents you have listing them in the census or city directory, a map of where they lived, the group sheets of extended family members? There is so much you already know that could be put into the first page of your genealogy digital scrapbook album.
Sure you’re bound to learn more … but that’s the beauty of digital. If you save the pdf formatted version of the pages you create, they can always be altered when you make that next discovery. So, ready or not, go ahead – start today!
Last Thursday I had the pleasure of doing a workshop with 9 individuals at the Bud Werner Library in Steamboat Springs, CO. All of whom were excited about the prospects of turning their genealogy records into digital genealogy scrapbooks to share with family and friends. As you might expect … they had lots of good questions. (Are there any other kind?)
I’ll be using my next several posts to revisit their questions and any others that my blog viewers might have on this subject.
As the nine enthusiastic workshop attendees were leaving the room, I encouraged them to get started on their albums and to send me a link to or copy of their first page. And what do you think was the response? One couple said they had more work to do first. To which I can only comment … don’t we all! If we wait until we’ve reached the end of our researching to start our scrapbooks, will we ever have a viable way to share what we’ve uncovered? Others, have now downloaded the Adobe Photoshop software and seem prepared, yet leery to get started on their creations. One asked if I would do some free lance work and meet to discuss working on her memory book later this year. Hmmm, I’d thought about that previously and wondered if it might be a possible option. I guess we’ll see.
Regardless of the obstacle that any of the attendees seem to face, bear in mind this quote from Henry Ford:
My advice to all … don’t let your obstacles, real or imagined, let you take your eyes of your goal! Aren’t we all searching for the best way to share with future generations the many things we’ve learned about our ancestors? Be it a scrapbook or another means, start now. Don’t let your hesitations mean that your research remains hidden in a drawer or a binder. You really have nothing to lose!
Now, on to those questions! Please let me know what you’d like to ask in order to move your project forward and I’ll address each and every one. Thank You.
It’s been said .. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
For many, the hardest part of Creating your Digital Genealogy Scrapbook is just getting started. So to help you do so, I’d like to present a few hints.
I like to use a composition notebook. They’re not too expensive and offer a simple way to combine your thoughts, ideas and sketches in one place.
- Label the cover with the Name of the Scrapbook / Family / Surname or Ancestors that will be included in your Album
- Jot down ideas
- Use separate pages to list all that you know about an ancestor or family
- Make a list of the photos that you have or the ones you need to scan
- What documents are available that you want to include?
- What designs of pages have you found that you like?
- Sketch out a rough draft of what you might want to include on a scrapbook layout, including:
- Determine the number of frames or locations needed on the template
- Create a timeline of who will be included in the album and in what order
- Make a brief outline of the pages that will be included for each ancestor, family, generation, etc.
- Create a “Due date” for yourself of what you need to do by when for each page
You may not use everything you’ve included in the book but it’s a great way to get your thoughts and ideas on paper in order to help you get a start on your project. I find that it helps to get the creative juices flowing. You don’t need to create detailed sketches … just a line drawings to give you an idea on placement on the page, what’s to be included, etc. Also, it’s not essential that you use a composition book .. I just find it convenient. However, you might have a tablet with features that allow you to create sketches / notebooks and that would work equally as well.
My advice is to use whatever it takes to move you “off the dime” and to the point of getting a start creating the project. Trust me, you won’t regret it!
I’m really excited about the upcoming workshop that I’m conducting at the Bud Werner Library in Steamboat Springs, CO. for the genealogy club. It will be next Thursday, Feb 20th from 9 to noon. We’ll actually be creating a digital genealogy scrapbook page. If you’re in the area, please plan to attend but be sure to RSVP to John Major at the library.
Then in June I’m headed to California to attend my 1st Jamboree. I’ve heard great things about this conference. The pre-conference symposium on DNA is of special interest to me. So California here we come! Plus, I’m hoping to be chosen as one of the speakers for the 2015 Jamboree, so it’ll be nice to get some preliminary exposure to the conference.
Aaron Christensen of the Deseret News was in the audience on Thursday and wrote this very nice article about the presentation given at RootsTech.
Read all about it!
He did a great job of summarizing the information that was presented. I encourage you to read what he had to say by clicking on the above link. Most importantly, I hope you will give digital scrapbooking a try and create at least one page using the research that you’ve gathered about your family.
Here is a Step-by-Step video guide that I created to walk you through the process of creating a two page layout that scrapbooks the findings of your genealogy research.
Click here to watch the 20 minute video of the steps involved in the process of creating the following page.
You’ll be surprised how easy it is and how your family and friends will rave about what you’re able to create! Happy Scrapping!!
I’d like to offer a big thank you to all of those who attended my session today on Creating a Digital Genealogy Scrapbook at RootsTech 2014. I know you have a lot of choices on workshops and sessions so I greatly appreciate the fact that you chose my session. I apologize that the video didn’t cooperate but I hope you still got out of the presentation everything that you need to begin to create your genealogy page and scrapbook. I am re-loading the video online so that you can view it. And, if you care to, please purchase and download the video that will guide you through the creation of your family album. Thanks again!
I’m pleased to let you know about two discounts that I was able to secure in conjunction with my upcoming presentation at Rootstech 2014. My thanks to the generosity of both YinDesigns and Picaboo! YinDesigns offers hundreds of beautifully designed templates to help with your Digital Genealogy Creations. While Picaboo is my favorite location for printing high quality lay-flat photo books.
Here are the details on how to take advantage of either or both of the substantial discounts that will run from today thru Feb 28th, 2014:
Visit YinDesigns and receive 25 % Off the purchase of any Template. Use the “Add to Cart Button”, then key in the code 11681S3B - Click “Apply”. Do this BEFORE proceeding to Checkout.
Visit Picaboo. Receive 30% off the printing of a Classic Customer Photobook or Prestige Photobook. Use the Coupon code: PICABOOK30.
So I’ve been talking a lot lately about how to create your own Family History album … and to do so Artistically …so that others might be tempted to find out what you already know from your research about your ancestors. I’ve written a guide to help you make your own album but perhaps you’d like to see the end result before you embark on the project.
I’ll be speaking at RootsTech and will have a printed version to show the attendees but if you click on the link below you can see a review of the pages included in my album. Hopefully, this stirs you to want to do likewise with your data, documents, photos, etc. After all, wouldn’t you rather look at an album chocked full of the information and stories you’ve uncovered, than dig through files and charts or read a massive book of diagrams and written word?
Take a peek … click on the link to see the short video!
Schwerman Family Album