Archiving Your Digital Family History Files (#2): Organize Your New Digital Archive

This is part three of a five-part blog series about organizing and preserving your digital genealogy files. Read the Introduction here and Step 1 here.

In my previous posts, I discussed why it’s important to organize your digital genealogy files into an archive, and gave you a few pointers for locating all your genealogy files (Step #1). Before you start organizing all these files, you’ll need a place to put them (Step #2). In this step, I’ll show you how to create your new digital Family History Archive, and develop your own organizational system which will hold all your genealogy files. I’ll also show you the organizational system that I use in my Digital Archive.


Create your new Digital Archive

Before we do anything else, you’ll need to decide where you’re going to put your new Family History Archive. You’ll need a physical device to put your digital archive. A good place for your Archive is on your current computer (if there is enough space and if it’s reliable) or an external hard drive that can easily connect to your computer. (Don’t worry about having a place to back it up right now; we’ll get to that in Step #4!) Before you decide, let’s look at the various storage options out there. Continue reading “Archiving Your Digital Family History Files (#2): Organize Your New Digital Archive”

Archiving Your Digital Family History Files (#1): Find Your Digital “Stuff”

This is part two of a five-part blog series about organizing and preserving your digital genealogy files. Read the introduction here.

I started doing family history research when I was about 10 years old, when most of our research was still very much paper-based. If I had any digital files, they were saved on my parents’ computer. In the years since then, both my dad and I have done genealogy research, and our digital files accumulated on both of our computers, in our emails, on various flash drives, and many other digital locations. I’ve had to develop ways to keep track of both the paper and digital files that we’ve accumulated. Most of my research is now stored digitally. During my library science degree, I took a class in Digital Preservation, and for a class project, decided that it was time to consolidate all of our genealogy “stuff” into one shared Digital Genealogy Archive, and I developed an organizational system to manage it. I now have over 600 GB and 23,000 files (and growing!) in my digital archive. This blog series combines what I’ve learned in my Digital Preservation class about Personal Digital Archiving, and my own lessons learned from creating my own Digital Genealogy Archive. Continue reading “Archiving Your Digital Family History Files (#1): Find Your Digital “Stuff””

Ann Lawrence “Summoned” on Easter Sunday, 1927

My 3rd great-grandmother, Ann (Kitely) Lawrence was 92 years old when she passed away on Easter Sunday, April 17, 1927. My grandmother was 3 and a half years old when Ann passed away, and was one of 35 great-grandchildren. Ann sounds like quite a remarkable woman. Much of what I know about her is from her two-page obituary, which is transcribed below. Continue reading “Ann Lawrence “Summoned” on Easter Sunday, 1927″

Andrew Kaiser, tinner and tinker

East Lincoln Highway (1912)
This photo shows East Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb, IL in 1912 from Seventh Street looking West. Andrew Kaiser operated his tinning shop at 622 E. Lincoln Hwy at this time. In this photo, his shop was located in the building near the car parked on the left side of the road, in the two-story building with the large sign that says “Drugs.” (Image source: NIU Digital Archives, Ritzman photo collection.)

For over 30 years, the Kaiser family ran a successful sheet metal shop in DeKalb, IL. (I wrote about the later years of this shop in this earlier post!) Andrew Kaiser and his two youngest sons operated the shop, but the family’s history in tinsmithing didn’t start in DeKalb. The patriarch of the family, Andrew Kaiser, had been a tinner and metal worker for nearly his whole life, and his career lasted for over 50 years. His long career even includes some exciting surprises! Continue reading “Andrew Kaiser, tinner and tinker”

Family History at the Library

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”