Well, my quest to become a paperless genealogist continues this week. I have begun the process and so far, I like the results! I have added several documents to my genealogy files by photographing them with the camera on my phone and then adding them to my ancestry tree through the app on my phone. I have also started adding in my all my photos to my family tree.
I have started going through my boxes and digitizing all my files and I am only going to keep those papers that are original documents and photos. All of the many, many computer printouts and copies are being recycled. I am reclaiming the space in my house!!
The few documents that are original documents are being placed in scrapbooks in page protectors. I am going to have these scrapbooks on display on my coffee table so that when anyone comes to my home they can freely look at these documents and remember our family history. I especially like this part for my niece and nephews. Most aren’t really interested in “genealogy”, but they do like to look at the photos of our family and here about our memories of the people who would be their great grandparents and 2nd great grandparents.
The process is somewhat slow because as I go through each box/folder I am making sure that the information is entered in my genealogy file before I out the original documents in the scrapbooks or recycle the paper from the copies and printouts.
I am currently using family tree maker 2012 so my family tree is now syncing to an online tree. That gives me one backup to my family tree information. Then, I am storing the file for family tree maker in my dropbox folder so that gives me two backups to my file.
Since I have my tree set to be private so that only people I invite to my tree can view it I am adding in all my family information without worrying about privacy concerns too much.
My file is growing by leaps and bounds too. I have been using the ancestry hints to help me to get my information quickly into FTM2012.
I know that a lot of genealogists are critical of ancestry’s trees with the hints. However, I find them to be useful in helping me to remember to look for all the different types of records for my ancestors.
Also, they give me quick little research goals that I can accomplish with a measure of success that help to keep me enjoying the research process! The little leaves for hints just somehow make the process a little more fun!
I also use the ancestry member trees as a large part of my research process. I usually look at the trees hints first and add in the family members. Then, I go back to the hints or to search the records to find the documentation on my ancestors.
I don’t accept every tree hint and I have found quite a few that had wrong confections made, but I have also had good luck with many of them by guiding me to look for records that I might never have found otherwise. For instance, I had through family information that my great great grandmother on the Thompson side if the family was Arepha Waggonner. She was married to William Thompson. I tried for years to find some documentation of this theory, but I could find nothing to provide me with any documentation of her maiden name. Them, I saw an ancestry tree that showed her with a first marriage to a John Cunningham. I was then able to find her marriage record to my Great great grandfather William Thompson with her last name listed as Cunningham. Then I found her marriage record to John Cunningham that provided her maiden name of Waggonner. Without the hint from the tree, I don’t know if I ever would have found the proof of her maiden name!
If any of my family members would like an invitation to my online ancestry tree drop me an email and I will send you the invitation. If you were invited to the tree more than a couple of months ago you will need a new invitation because I deleted the old tree when I was trying other software for my genealogy research. At least for now, I am very satisfied with my new research methodology and expect to stay with this tree for my research for a long time to come. Also if anyone would like to share any family photos or stories please email them to me and I will include them on the family tree. If you aren’t comfortable emailing them, maybe we could get together sometime and I could copy them with my camera and them I could add them to the tree.
New additions this past week to the tree have included several family groups being added on practically all of the family lines. I added in about five hundred family photos and documents including the minister credentials for my 3rd great grandfather James Madison Stout as well as a couple of handwritten letters. Neither of the letters were written by him as they were letters written to him but the one from L. W. Thompson has several Bible scripture references on it and Grandma Gwen Stout Thompson told me that they were written by him as he was preparing for sermons! (For those concerned, any actual documents written by our ancestors are not being destroyed in my paperless quest! These would be maintained in the scrapbooks. I am not sure that I have these particular documents though as I added these from my collection of previously digitized records. Grandma let me scan many of her papers before she died and I would scan them and return the originals. )
I am also continuing the paperless quest in all the other areas of my life. I am still loving my new phone!! It its allowing me to keep my to do lists on my phone along with all my notes! I now have the information to get stuff done wherever I am at the moment without having to carry a large suitcase with me wherever I go! For those of you that know me it will come as a shock but I am now only carrying a small purse!
I feel more in control of my life by having all of my info with me. I am getting in the habit of putting everything I need to remember in my phone. It is sometimes difficult for me to stop and take a moment to put it in the phone but I am experiencing many benefits from having everything I need to know in one place! I don’t always feel like I am forgetting something important! I am also able to concentrate more knowing what I need to get done, everything that I need to get done, and that I am making the correct choice in what I am doing at the time. When I decide it is time to relax I can actually relax knowing that I have the things I need to take care of listed and a plan to take care of them made, so I don’t need to be constantly thinking about how to get everything done!!
More to come next week!