[copy of an email of 5/7/2019]
For today's email I felt the need to divide it into two sections - to focus on two different "audiences".
subject: Digital Preservation of family Documents like
Photos, charts, stories, letters, certificates, newspaper articles and
even audio files etc.
you are new to the digitization and preservation of family documents
and how to upload such items to a web application like FamilySearch or
Ancestry you may wish to watch these videos.
really is not that hard if you have a scanner or camera enabled
device. Its often just a matter of taking the time to "get
started" and being curious enough to just try new things
all my learning related to genealogical research and processing of
genealgical material - few things have given me more "bang for
the buck" than learning how to use a scanner and to edit scanned
images. I can’t recommend enough how valuable it can be to sit down
with someone who can mentor you on how to use a scanner.
anyone of you who consider yourselves newbies to on line genealogy and
digitization of genealogical material here are some great sites
you are not a newbie you may consider skipping this section which talks
about Family search and how one can upload family material in
digital format to the online Family search system.
FREE Family Search Account:
if you don't plan on using Familysearch long term - I still
recommend creating a FREE account - just to give yourself some
exposure to the many options and opportunities.
Here you can create a free account. No charges - no strings attached.
recently re-established contact with a researcher I had known for I
think 30 years or so. He had spent many decades researching a
given surname - simlar to what I had done for the Yancey family.
had told me how he was uploading to Family Search Memories around
15,000 files (photos, documents, scanned images etc.,).
This really sounds like a mammoth amount of work to upload.
. . and it is. . .
for someone who has spent decades collecting family information - -
15,000 items is not really so much out of the norm. And if you do
it right - 15,000 items can be uploaded to FamilySearch
probably quicker than you might think. This researcher was
reaching their mature years and wanted to ensure that no matter what
happened to them at any point in time – that their research and
collection of information was preserved in a manner and with an
application that would ensure continued access to these items –
even long after they are gone. (contrary to some systems which
may shut down your account if the monthly bill doesn’t get
paid). Note FamilySearch is totally free – and they will
retain your files – even after one’s passing).
For those interested in being able to methodically, efficiently and smartly - upload and preserve digital memorabilia in Familysearch - when your collection of items is very large (picking
some arbitrary number - an amount larger than 100 items) - what follows
are some tips that may not be totally apparent to the beginner
FamilySearch user- but have become quite apparent to me over time as I
have uploaded thousands of items over many months.
I figured I would share some of my lessons learned and suggestions.
what follows kind of assumes you are someone who already has a large
collection of data files (including jpg image files, pdf
document files and more ) and that you have some basic understanding of
uploading such files on line - and you have some basic
understanding of using FamilySearch.
Before you start work on some large scale upload project to Familysearch - put some real thought into how your files are named, sorted and organized on your computer or storage device.
that a methodology that works fine for uploading 10-20 photos for a
small group of family members - may not work efficiently when you start
working with hundreds or thousands of photos that apply to many
hundreds or thousands of people in the system.
realize that small simple details in your process that seem no "biggy"
for small numbers of uploads - may all of a sudden make the difference
in what could be days, months, or years if you are uploading thousands
of items. . .
some thought in how you can work "smart" and/or "think out of the
box" instead of just working "hard" can really make a world
of difference - . For example: Finding ways to
do things "in batch" versus just one by one. Thinking about
an assembly line approach
versus going from start to finish on one item at a time. Or
thinking and playing with ways of getting other people involved in the
project other than just you.
One item that may not be readily apparent to the beginner is the real value of FamilySearch "ALBUMS".
Just like how creating various sub folders on your hard drive can
really help you organize and group and sort out items - so can
uploading your items to Familysearch in logical smaller groups (within
FamilySearch) known as "albums". I have felt the need to
create over 50 different FamilySearch gallery albums to help me work
more efficiently and smartly with my large collection. For
example I have a set of over 300 Bible record images/files that I
have grouped together tp be able to handle similarly. I also have
a folder with over 1,000 newspaper articles that have their own unique
needs. I have also been able to group together items that were
given to me by a given researcher to keep such items separate
from other material. I STRONGLY recommend playing
around with the use of "albums" and assigning different items to
different albums (folders). Also realize a single item - can be
assigned and exist to multiple albums - while still only be stored in
the system "once". Also realize that you can take
batch actions against all the items in a given album in one fell
swoop (as an example - all the items in my "Lillian Bogardus"
album/folder (a deceased researcher who shared with me thousands of
items) - all the items I could link ("tag") to Lillian's record
in Familyseach - all in one batch step. Also it is critical to
understand that with large numbers of uploaded items - you are almost
always better off - uploading batches of items to a given folder
- EVEN before you link such items to a person in the familysearch
family tree. Using FamilySearch albums and doing uploads in large
batches can really make a world of difference in how long your project
brings us to the next subject of "batch uploading". I have
noted – though never seen it documented anywhere – that if you batch
upload multiple files to a Family Search ALBUM – you can upload many
more files and do it much quicker – then if you upload files directly
to a person record in Family Tree.
I have actually been able to batch load
like 200 items (at a time) to an album and have it complete in a minute
or two. I even had sporadic success with much bigger
numbers (it depends on file size of course).
it’s not out of this world to be able to batch upload thousands of
files in a few days – though the tedious work of linking them to
individual people can take much longer.
just to give you some example of things I have uploaded to family
search to album folders - - Over the years I have inherited a ton
of material from various long time researchers (many now deceased) .
Resulting in tens of thousands of pages of material I had
accumulated. Most of this I had batch scanned on a high speed
office copier to pdf files. For many of these deceased
researchers I was able to create a Family Search Album – where I could
batch load a large number of pdf/jpg files to a specific album.
Then very quickly I was able to LINK these files to the
“person record” of this deceased researcher in Family Tree so that
anyone looking up the person in Family Search would see digital copies
of all the files for such person and be able to quickly and easily
leverage their research. Another project has involved Bible
records – where I have uploaded hundreds of Bible records to an album
in Family Search. In the same way that I group my data file son
my storage device – I can often mirror that folder structure using the
album feature of Family Search. And using it - be able to upload
large amounts of files – without initially being forced to link them to
any given person in FamilySearch at the offset.
the speed of uploading to Family Search Albums – another great feature
that may not be apparent to new users – is that even if I alone upload
a large number of files to an album that I have created. I am
still able to share the url link to this album folder with other Family
Search users – and have them help me out in the tedious process of
linking/tagging these items to specific people in the Familytree.
I don’t have to do all the work!!!! The process of
item tagging I can share with an unlimited number of people who I can
share the album address with. This is a wonderful way to share
the labor of love.
of interest is that a given file can exist in multiple albums (without
the file being duplicated). Albums can be maintained just like
any folder structure - as the work evolves over time.
I totally realize that many of you are discouraged or dis-enchanted by the “collaborative approach” of FamilySearch family tree -
-especially those who are used to maintaining their own database where
they have total control. I totally empathize with this! And
the collaborative approach for maintaining an extensive family tree in
FamilySearch – may definitely not be any specific person’s “cup of tea”.
I think many serious researchers would be best off – having their data
in their own controlled environment using a program like FTM or Rots
magic etc. and so I totally understand people who are very
hesitant to upload the data they are used to having total control over
– and then see it overlaid by some other user in Familysearch. I GET THAT frustration.
– even if you are someone who wishes to use a program like FTM and keep
their data as pure as it can be – and totally under their domain – even
they could benefit from uploading certain items to
FamilySearch. I think one of the best ways to preserve
digital files long term – even after a person is six feet under -
- -is to ensure their information is stored in multiple places –
both paper and digital and especially places that will not delete it –
once you don’t pay the bills – or once you are dead.
will retain digital file upload – for an indefinite period of time.
And they don’t charge you a cent. And as far as digital
uploads – such uploads would stay intact – and not be modifiable by
others – other than people potentially making a link/tag between the
item and the person it was in relation to.
· How many of you have wondered what would become of your files once you are dead?
· Or have you wondered what will become of the room full of papers of Aunt Linda.
· Or – what will happen if I don’t have money to pay my Ancestry.com account where I have uploaded hundreds of files.
· Or what will happen to my ancestry.cm account when I am no longer around?
· What will become of the many boxes in the attic or closet that you’ve treasured all these years
if something happens to you – or something happens to your home?
you ever asked yourself – where you could store a digital copy of your
files on line – and do it without cost – and not necessarily having to
wait until all the thousands of items were grouped, labeled, and
named? And not necessarily have to link them “up front” to any
specific deceased ancestor? And if you did find such a place – wouldn’t
it in effect allow for you to create a “backup” copy of your data?
These are all serious things to consider
FamilySearch may not be the answer to everything – and surely we need
to use common sense and common smarts and tact In uploading the right
type of information and other information maybe not.
BUT whether you are a current Family Search user or not
And whether you are turned off by the collaborative approach of Family Search Family Tree and use your own program
way I think there can be some real value – on opportunities that exist
to upload and preserve your research and that of others.
Give it some thought
let me know what you think are some great opportunities for family
record preservation – and maybe areas where you don’t think it should
be used .
There’s no black and white – right and wrong answer.
BUT I really think way too many people – throw the baby out
with the wash – when Familysearch could do so much for them as to data
preservation – if they would just give it a chance and not be so quick
to negate the idea.
Some example of FamilySearch Uploads – uploaded to FamilySearch Albums
Click the link under each item
Research of Barbara Vaughn – deceased Yancey researcher – including a copy of her book
A compilation of Biographies
over 500 items from a deceased Yancey researcher – Lillian Yancey Bogardus
a compilation of over 100 Family Bibles
Hopefully you get your documents preserved before they end up like this: