Digital or bust. Is that the question?


  1. Velma Davis
    Velma Davis November 2, 2013 at 9:07 am .

    Cindy, I really like your plan. I have several years of papers and documents and have never really found a plan that I could live with are file with. Do you have a genealogical program on your computer are do you use a word processor. Hope you post updates frequently to let us know how the process is going and I hope to be able to do just a little of this myself. Really hard for me because I have 4 generations living in my house right now and do not have any spare room to lay my papers out and a 24 month old G Grandbaby that love pencil and papers. Good Luck and you have inspired me to at least get started. Velma

  2. Debbie Mayes
    Debbie Mayes November 2, 2013 at 1:06 pm .

    I agree. I’ve digitalized most of my files, too, but also keep binders. It’s handy to have everything in my computer, but it’s nicer to have the binders when you want to show your family history to your relatives. And, sometimes, I’d rather sit down and look through “a book”. It’s also extra backup.

  3. Laurie McNamara Hahn
    Laurie McNamara Hahn November 3, 2013 at 10:18 am .

    Both, Yes! I am digitizing my paper heirlooms in the hopes that a backup copy will save them in case of a fire or flood. I would be devastated to lose them. There is nothing to replace the feeling while holding an original letter from your ancestors back in the old county, relating how much they miss their immigrant or telling the immigrant that the whole family was killed in a war-time bombing, 1945. I scan to protect and preserve them. I originally made photocopies. Now I am changing with the times and digitizing them. My main concern is how do we keep these digital copies up-to-date? How many of us had files on computers that crashed? I’ve paid to have techs try to salvage information and pictures. Little success. In this cyberspace world, what will we be leaving for our descendants in 20 years? 50? 100? PAPER, if preserved will last. I won’t give up my computer tho, and love online databases for research.

  4. Dayna Jacobs
    Dayna Jacobs December 8, 2013 at 2:04 pm .

    I digitized my research and am only keeping items in binders which are originals. Anything that is derivative—printouts of records, copies from books, etc., went to the recycle bin. It was so liberating! Photos are archived in photos safe sleeves in archival binder boxes. I also copied all my research logs and notes. I can easily find my records in the surname file folder on my computer and am slowly attaching them to individuals in my Legacy a Family Tree program. I scanned documents into PDFs using a document feeder and that part went fast. Photos are TIFFs, and then copies made into JPG en masse using file converter software. My files are backed up on an external Drobo drive, and also online with Carbonite. I have now been easily uploading and attaching my files to my Family Tree at Familysearch so they are available to everyone in my immediate family, and anyone connected to my tree. Everyone now has access to every photo, every document, and every research log and note I have ever had. That is 27 years worth of research I know will be easily accessible to future generations. Nobody has ever asked to look at my research binders before, so I don’t feel guilty getting rid of them, and I am finding my kids are much more interested in looking at the things I have attached to the Family Tree than they ever were with my binders. I think it’s fine to keep everything in binders if that’s what works for folks, and if space is not a problem that is a bonus, but for me it has felt great to find another way to share and preserve my research. I do feel good knowing that if anything ever happens to me my work will go on.

  5. […] *This post originally appeared November 2013 on The In-Depth Genealogist blog* […]

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