Genealogy is a study that can create vast amounts of “paperwork”. In many cases, the original documents, photos, and family trees are written down on actual paper. In addition, it is also entirely possible to end up collecting bits and pieces of digital research that connects to your ancestors and living relatives. Where are you going to put it all?
First, I want to make it clear that the physical copies of vital records, old family photos, and the research notes that another genealogist in your family scrawled out long ago, have value. It is important that you make digital copies of everything just in case something happens to the originals. Once you have scanned everything into your computer, save those precious papers in a fireproof safe or a safe deposit box.
This situation, of course, is going to leave you with a lot of digital data. The good news is that the digitized copies of old photos and records are going to be really easy to share with family members who live far away. Attach some of that to an email and send it out. It’s that easy.
Eventually, you will amass more digital data than is possible to store on your home computer. What can you do then? One simple solution is to invest in an external hard drive. Store all your genealogy stuff on that external drive. You can now remove it from your computer’s internal hard drive. Suddenly, there is a lot more room on your computer than before!
Another option is to use an offsite system for storage of digital data. Dropbox is a safe “home” for your digital files. The items you put into your Dropbox are easy to access and share with relatives. Everything you put in there is automatically marked “private”. This gives you a lot of control over who can access it.
Dropbox can be used for free by both those who use a PC and those who use Macs. The Dropbox basic plan is free and gives you 2GB of space. If you find yourself needing more space than that, it is possible to upgrade your Dropbox subscription to one that offers more space. (Those upgrades are not free).
Flickr is an great place to store photos. Everyone who has a Flickr account gets 1000GB of free storage. That is enough space to hold 500,000 photos. It is recommended that you keep a copy of every photo that you post on Flickr (or other, similar, online photo websites).
You can sort the photos into albums. You have the ability to mark each photo as “All Rights Reserved” if you don’t want it used in advertising or on other people’s blogs. There is also a privacy setting that you can use to restrict the viewing of your photos. One option is to only allow “Family” to see them.
Image by Stephen Ridgway on Flickr.
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