Archiving Your Digital Family History Files: Introduction (#1)

This week is Preservation Week! Many local libraries and archives will have some great preservation events this week, and The Family Curator has highlighted a couple free webinars about preservation that are happening this week. This week I’m also launching this five-part blog series about preserving and archiving your digital family history files. Stay tuned for the next installment coming soon!


Many of us are familiar with the piles of paper that accumulate in our lives as a result of our genealogy research. But what about the “invisible” digital clutter that accumulates while we’re researching? What are you doing to organize and keep track of those digital files?

computer desk electronics indoors
Oh, how many files are downloaded and enter the digital abyss on our computers! Will they ever be found again?

Do any of these situations sound familiar to you?

  • You know you downloaded your ancestor’s census record from Ancestry, but you don’t know where it went.
  • You have genealogy files spread out across various computers, some are backed up on a hard drive, some have been emailed to yourself, and others could possibly be on this other flash drive…
  • You have some downloaded records on your computer, but you don’t remember why you downloaded them, where they came from, or who they belong to.
  • You took a bunch of photos at a cemetery of your family’s headstones, but you never put them on your computer, and now you don’t know where they are.
  • You have some files on your computer that have a weird or outdated file format, and you aren’t able to open them, or it says the files are corrupted and can’t be opened.
  • Your general “Genealogy” folder on your computer is a huge grab-bag of miscellaneous files, scanned photos, and documents with unrecognizable file names. It takes you a long time to find a file that you need to use.

This five-part, in-depth blog series is going to help you create your own Digital Family History Archive, where you’ll keep all your digital files relating to your family history. I’ll share some steps to take that will help you solve some of the issues that are mentioned above, and will save you time when you’re looking for files that you’ve saved. I’ll focus mainly on kinds of files that are common in your genealogy research, but these techniques could also be applied all your other digital files that are not genealogy related. Continue reading “Archiving Your Digital Family History Files: Introduction (#1)”

Family History at the Library

Weil_Eva_reading
My love of reading started young, and was probably influenced by the many teachers in my family, and my aunt who was a librarian.

I have always been a ferocious reader, and always interested in the past. My interest in literature, history, public service, and genealogy has led to a career as a librarian. Last year I completed my MSLIS, but my family’s connection to libraries does not start there! Continue reading “Family History at the Library”

Film Review: “They Shall Not Grow Old”

A stunning portrayal of soldiers’ lives during WWI

This past Monday, I went to a screening of Peter Jackson’s new WWI documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old. I went into the theater with high expectations, and this film definitely surpassed all of them. It brings to life the old archival footage in a way that has never been seen before. It truly allows you to travel back in time, and to experience history as the soldiers saw it. This film will be the closest you’ll ever be to actually experiencing the life of a WWI soldier on the Western Front, and horrors of war that they saw. It is a fitting tribute to the men and women who lived and died during this war. Continue reading “Film Review: “They Shall Not Grow Old””

What I Learned about Family History from Library Science

row of books in shelf

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently graduated with a degree in Library and Information Science. I’ve had about six months of free time to unwind, put away my school papers, and reflect on what I’ve learned the past three years. Although most of my courses were not directly related to genealogy or family history, I realized that much of the knowledge that I gained in the library field is also applicable to family history. I recently read an older post from Amy Coffin at The We Tree Genealogy Blog, and I was inspired to write this post. So, what did I learn about family history while in library school? Continue reading “What I Learned about Family History from Library Science”

Where is Conrad August? (an update)

In a previous post, I described my search for my great-grandfather’s brother Conrad August Weil. I have recently returned from my brief research trip to Pittsburgh, and I wanted to share some exciting findings!

When I went to Pittsburgh, one of my primary goals was to find out of the Conrad Weil who married Evelyn Simon was the same Conrad Weil Jr. from my family. The short answer is, yes, he is! My next question was, where did he go after that? (I still don’t know!)  Continue reading “Where is Conrad August? (an update)”