Genealogy tips: Organizing family history research

Genealogy tips: Organizing family history research

As we get more involved in our family history research, we acquire more and more information, papers, notes and photos that clutter up our  homes.

To avoid losing these valuable pieces of family history, it’s important to find ways to organize and keep track of your family history research discoveries.

Here are some tips on how to to gather that information, preserve and organize it, so nothing gets lost.

  • Organize data in alphabetical order. This can be on a computer or in a written file. If you have many documents, separate them by the individual they concern or type of document and then alphabetize.
  • Scan documents and photos. It’s important to have both online and offline copies of family history documents. Scan, upload and preserve them online. Add them to family tree profiles in your MyHeritage family tree. Digitizing documents helps preserve them from damage and provides access for relatives – who don’t have the original document – to also learn about their family history.
  • Back up files regularly. If you’re using Family Tree Builder software, sync your family tree online for extra backup and  have access to it online and on mobile. Also, make a hard copy backup to an external hard drive. Some programs, such as Dropbox, allow documents to be stored online after scanning and uploading.
  • Cite sources. Take notes, add sources and citations for documents with information about the person and other details.

Want more organization and genealogy tips? Check our past webinars on genealogy tips, organization and more.


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  • Kat

    April 25, 2016

    This is some great advice. I always forget to put citations on my documents so this is a nice little reminder!

    I wanted to add an additional tip, though, since I work with backups and can’t help myself. Hard drives and cloud storage are great options and safety precautions, but for the long-term preservation of important genealogical data I’d use a backup option specifically made for data archiving, like magnetic tape or optical media.