In a prior email I pointed out how the Yancey Family Surname Resource Center – and all the information and images it holds is the result of all of us as a family.  I really don’t claim copyright or ownership of  most of it. My whole  purpose has been to make it openly and freely available to all without any significant restriction and to preserve it all for future generations. 


The Yancey Family Surname Resource Center:


And I also felt to share with you all – some info on various TOOLS that I feel  have been of great value to myself and I recommend to others in their research and organization of family data.



Its amazing what you can do with a photo editor.  I consider it a must have for anyone working with  photos for genealogical purposes – just for the basic editing features of  CROPPING/LABELING/ROTATING.  And one will be surprised how easy it is to do basic  photo flaw correction.

Personally I use the freeware PHOTOSCAPE – and I love it.   But there are many other options.  For the less tech savvy – you may try something like GOOGLE PHOTOS or some other similar services.  ASK around with people you know who may be able to guide you.   Click here for photoscape


A scanner will be how you import various photos/documents into your computer.  Most scanners will come with some basic photo editing software as part of the purchase. Most of these are extremely  user friendly.  You can also use the scanner for documents and other printed textual information.  You can get a scanner/copier/printer for dirt cheap.  For the average user there is not a great need to spend lots of money. Click here for some prices


A “Print to pdf” utility
You will find that PDF format is an almost  universally readable format for documents (and also groups of photos) – however it may not be readily recognized how to get something you have or have found into this format.  With a pdf utility such as “primo pdf” – you can convert virtually anything you can view on your computer into pdf format.  With pdf format you don’t have to usually worry about people not being able to read the format of the file you created (such as what happens when you create something in WordPerfect and then try to share it with others).  Converting to pdf is no harder than just sending a document to print (which everyone already knows how to do)  click here for more info.


A Web based Backup Solution

A hard drive can crash at any time. And when it happens – you will most often NOT be able to recover the data from the hard drive.  I highly recommend saving a backup copy of your data on a FLASH DRIVE – along with a web based backup service – which can be performed automatically and periodically  without necessitating a conscious direct request from the user.   With any backup procedure one of the most important needs  - - is to test a recover scenario periodically – to ensure one is familiar with process and that the process actually works.  Too many people find out too late – their backup/recover process doesn’t work the way they thought.  Here are some reviews of web based backup options

Cheap Flash Drives

Cheap Portable Hard Drives




My in-laws now suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s – their ability to read and verbalize are very limited.  Before they reached this state I recorded them with a voice recorder – reading material that had a very personal and family significance.  I’m glad I did. Now I can share it with others – even when they are gone.

It is really much easier than one thinks – now with digital recorders.   Digital recordings can now be uploaded to

Audio Recorders




I am definitely a fan of freeware – such as photoscape and various other programs
HOWEVER – I HIGHLY discourage the use of download . com  (CNET) to download freeware.
Anything downloaded from this site is highly probable of being coupled with annoying malware and adware and web-browser apps.

Be wary of free downloads – ask someone who has already been using such software first and get their experience. Download only from trusted sites.

Another option for Microsoft Office

Before you break the law and use a pirated / borrowed copy version of Microsoft Office – consider using a freeware option like OPEN OFFICE – which can actually read and write documents in Microsoft format.  Click here for more info.    Wikipedia review


NEVER operate a computer that doesn’t have antivirus – and preferably anti-adware
Its both risky and just plain annoying  what you will have to deal with

Once infected, it is very hard  and sometimes – nigh impossible (without reformatting) to bring the computer back to its former state.

Also ensure your wireless network is set up securely and that passerby’s cant log on to your network without you knowing.




In my years of family research and collecting family documents - One of the most disheartening things is finding a large collection of old family photos – and then finding out – not a single one of them is labeled – and no one around to tell you who is who.   Please take the time to label photos (either the physical photos (on the back) or  a label on the digital scan of the photo. And then link them to the individual deceased through sites like familysearch.  And if you don’t have the time or know how – consider giving them to someone who will.

WAY too many items never make it to future generations – because they get thrown out – when someone passes on – and those behind don’t have the time or resources or knowledge  to process the family data and preserve it in a meaningful way for future generations.