Family history photos

Many comments on this topic were similar to those mentioned in our post on organizing your research and documents.

DariuszSankowski / Pixabay

How do you currently store your family photos (traditional and digital)? Have you started sorting, organising and digitising them?

Save your photos as TIF files, not JPG. JPG is lossy, which means we do not get back the same quality we put in. There are more losses every time it is saved as JPG. TIF files are not lossy and much higher quality images.

I tried to do some TIFF scanning but it was so awkward with our scanner/software combo. JPG is more useful.

Check with your local library if you don’t have your own scanner. Many have good photocopier/scanners that you can use to scan photos and save to a memory stick or email to yourself.

Been sorting/ digitizing #photos for years! Identifying them is the challenge! Originals (not scanned) are in archival boxes, while scanned ones go to interested family. Scans, IF known, are in digital folders & cited in research notes! Liam

older family ones I’ve scanned & identified where possible. My own photos I’ve gone back & written names, dates and places on the back.

Someone contacted me on FB recently as she had a photo with my name on it – taken waaaay back in my late teens, with a group of mutual friends. Was fab to see,

I went thru my own photos from school/college & was ruthless. If I didn’t remember the people in it, I threw it out, unless it was a good pic of me! I’m very unphotogenic, so anything half-decent must be kept!

It was mad, I barely recognised myself! It was the top I was wearing that I remembered

I found some old pics in mum’s stuff recently, scanned and sent to the children I grew up with. They were thrilled as they didn’t have a family camera. Fun!

We’ve scanned my grandmother’s photo album – she has captioned them all, and include wedding photos of friends. Would be lovely to share them with their family.

Our Buchanan family was from Airdrie, but I think they left from Glasgow #ANZAncestryTime The album is so beautiful and I guess the family kept it safe to remember the relatives that they never saw again #Keepsakes

I have had such problems with the new(er) Photos – so irritating to use. The earlier version iPhoto was better. I found a whole heap of “lost” photos that hadn’t migrated from one to the other – was distraught thinking they had disappeared somehow.

I’m thinking of taking my photos from the Apple photos software. They hide them away so I find it easiest to copy any I want to use in blog posts or other applications. Then I have a mess of duplicates. For work I just file in Finder as it is easier.

Maggie, know what you mean. I preferred iPhoto as well. I had some trouble migrating that I add my back up to photos. Then some reappeared. Now I have to open each one and check for the most metadata and delete one. If you find an alternative, pass it on. Thanks.

I bought a FlipPal years ago but very rarely use it.

What can I say about my photos – NO! Physical photos stuck in albums and digital ones lumped in my computer. I do back up. I have scanned my Father in Law’s photo album and selected many for a photo book for his children. They loved it.

I love using photobooks both for family and events but also family history. Who knows what will survive.

We do Christmas photoletters (like a comic strip format) and these are wonderful to look back on. I think the photobooks would be the same – and more likely to survive, hopefully.

Try to use a common naming pattern when saving digitally but otherwise they are in a box labelled Family Photos

I am trying to label every photo and document consistently. For example, Surname_firstname_event/place_year. Any other examples?

I use surname first name year then event as it keeps photos in timeline order for that person

My method too or almost :)) Surname_first nameYear_event_place if known. For group photos add the names descriptions in metadata or use a simple program like Paint to add white canvas to picture and put all the information there

Have some in Flickr albums… some in shared Google photo albums depending on where families lurk.

I’m saving some in offline programs like Google Photos…in case. I have a Flickr account but don’t use it anymore.

I have finally transferred almost all of my iphone photos to my computer. I have started using the Forever storage that I paid for at Rootstech a while ago but it takes time! That’s the plan

Well I do wonder why I’m bothering as there is nobody coming after me to take them on. Might just be better off to put them up on Flickr. Haven’t decided what to do yet

FastStone Image Viewer. Before that Picasa, which was very good and easy to caption

I started archiving our digital photos years ago. Have left a set of DVD data discs at my parents house as a backup. Whenever I visit family I’ll scan whatever I can get my hands on. Physical photo archiving still to do. File/folder naming important.

Did anyone else fall into the trap of buying tow of each copy when you had photos developed? Meaning to send them to relatives and then never doing it? I have way too many photos. It seems a daunting task

Purchased some archival folders and sleeves from @GouldGenealogy and as I digitised wrote on back in pencil, and added the photos – 2 albums for my side of family, 1 for husband’s side, photos with metadata in surname folders

My father has all our family photos and every now and then he scans some and sends to me. Especially if they relate to a blog post. He is super organized with hundreds of photo files on his computer

One thing I do as I’m scanning is write the names on each photo but anything I scan I write an S on it so I know it’s been scanned

everywhere – albums, my computer, my phone, Google photos – no organisation whatsoever

My family photos need some sorting. So many in old albums and dare I say shoe boxes!

I have mine backed up on an external hard drive, on Forever (well they are getting there) and on USB’s

Organised, moi? I think not. No, I save them in folders by event (travel), or family name and within that by generation. I do have way too many photos of my own. like Sharn I’m a shutterbug.

Clker-Free-Vector-Images / Pixabay

I have my mother’s photos – years ago I got her to get all negatives printed & photos into photo albums with labels – I’ve started scanning some of them & use them on my family history blogs – but still long way to finish scanning – I keep getting sidetracked

I haven’t had a play with Adobe Bridge yet (I’m on a Windows laptop). I’m curious about what else is out there. I was thinking of re-importing pic files from 1 drive to another because the photo import apps have some bulk naming capabilities.

I have many albums of my own family photos and boxes of loose ones. I think I overdid it when photographing my children, holidays etc. I probably need to get rid of some

I find digital images are the hardest to control. They proliferate and it’s too easy to ignore managing them. When I do them I categorise the same ways I do with traditional pics.

They are saved in surname files eg maiden name till married then under married name for women

I have them saved on flickr as well as on home computer and many in Google photos but they are harder to add to blog posts.

I have scanned the old albums and they are on my computer. The originals are in my safe. I will give them to my nephew. I have suggested he should install a larger safe (as he has inherited from several people) in his renovations. Then he will get mine.

I’m afraid the trad photos are in boxes & old albums. Digital photos are roughly grouped into family lines. I give myself a C, definite room for improvement.

Digitally – I save them in specific family folders on my hard drive and backed up on my portable hard drive.

Traditional photos have been in albums but as I scan them I’m storing them separately and dividing into people and places. My favourite slides have been digitised, stored and backed up.

My family photos are a project to do still. I have digitised Many of my old ones but not my own family photos. Some are uploaded to Forever but I have boxes and boxes of photos that need attending to.

While on Covid leave for 12 months I digitised all photos. But that’s all I’ve done.

It’s one of the next jobs on my list, but so far I haven’t started 🙂

fotshot / Pixabay

Do you have a plan or any tips for organising and preserving family photos into the future?

Hoping that many unknown #photographs can be identified, then grouped within the family units.  @Photomyne has proven very helpful copying pictures trapped in (too many!) glue-striped, cling film albums that were popular in the 70s-80s

I recently got sent some photos from mum’s oldest friend’s family. Even included a photo of my parents’ house when first built. Best of all, they all have info on the back incl my baby photos.

Excellent, one of my sisters friends had a photo of her mother as a nurse holding me at a few days old outside the hospital where I was born.

The main thing I do to ensure my photos survive is put them into blog posts. My blog is archived so I’m hoping somebody comes across them in future years.

Photos from our trips (remember those 😒) go into photo books from Snapfish. Otherwise they just get forgotten about on a hard drive somewhere. #ANZAncestryTime Could do something similar for the family history photos.

I also organise all my digital photos (travel – family) in folders by date & event – I transfer photos from my Android phone to these folders. I also keep camera sd cards. I accidentally deleted some pics from my hard drive but found them on sd card

i inherited a bundle of photos of Perth, taken by my grandfather in the 1950s. I got in touch with the WA State Library & they said they’d be interested in taking them. As you say Pauleen, they do reveal many changes.

I use as many old family photos as I can to illustrate blog posts. And I make photo books. That way they are hopefully preserved for some time to come

My files on my computer of digital photos are organised. It is the boxes of photos that need sorting and scanning that is my problem

I do plan to sort first & actually discard some old photos. Scan. Then put them in archival albums. I have so many of my grandmothers’ photos.

A great tip I got at a writing seminar (for research docs, but works just as well for photos) is to put words in the file name that you would search for & let the computer’s search engine do the rest. So if its a group photo put many names in, etc.

I want to recaption my family photos – these date back to the 19th century. My own digital photos from 2005 have yet to be gone through to see which should be kept. Then I have the many boxes of slides from the 1960s to 1990s to scan plus the colour negatives

My parents and I had lots of old family photos scanned professionally, which has been fantastic, so they’re preserved in case anything happens to the originals. Plus easier to share with wider family. Haven’t got to the organising part, though.

A key preservation strategy is to share photos with others, especially heritage photos, present them in an appealing way, and keep backup copies off site where possible.

My fear is that in the coming decades we will lose a lot of history from our digital photos. I used photobooks for particular activities but that’s ironic -preserving digital in traditional ways.

Hoping that this #tweetchat will inspire me to get organised. Just realised the images on my computer are in an even bigger mess as I started filing them a while back so need to figure out where I am presently, create measurable goals, etc.

congerdesign / Pixabay

Share where you have found the best advice about organising, storing and preserving family photos ie books, conferences, courses, websites

The photography studio will at least you give you a place to start from and date range when they were in business. Perhaps then post on local area history site/society?

Perhaps back in Scotland where they originated – family history groups or facebook groups, or maybe they were families who came out together to Australia, so check where they settled here

Do you have access to the records of people leaving from Glasgow? If you can search for Buchanan and see if any families come close to the ages or age differences of the people in the photos…. Good luck!!

Contact Sunshine Coast Libraries they probably would digitise them, Noosa has done that for folks up here, borrowed old photos from locals and added them anyone can login and add

Yes they have a promotional collection online that they gave us access to for the Waves in Time conference so they will probably be happy to add to the collection. Also I have heard they are working on an archive/

My best advice has always come from attending RootsTech. Though I have been tempted to employ The Filing Fairy who I met after speaking at the Botany bay FHS

About 10-15 years ago I came across a book Keeping Found Things Found –… – it really helped my organise my files professionally and then my family history

somewhat off-topic. So you preserve your images in archival quality storage as recommended by the experts? I confess I don’t though I do have some stored safely apart from that

The best advice for scanning and saving photos is invest in a good scanner. The scanner in your printer is likely to be not as clear as a dedicated scanner. I like Epson scanners. Save photos across multiple devices and mediums..

I am a bower bird when it comes to collecting ideas about this….no one site. Sometimes tips from other genies can be as helpful as other experts’.

OpenClipart-Vectors / Pixabay

Suggest tips for maintaining family photos, ensuring image types remain current and preparing for disasters both digital and natural.

I started to write a blog post about my plans to preserve & digitise, but so many others have done that already. Q. What do you do with photos of friend’s weddings? A. Friends, keep an eye on your mailbox.

A great way to slim down your photo collection and give photos to those who would cherish them and pass them down in their own family!

For photos that are not my immediate family, I have sent them to cousins and friends of the family who I feel would treasure them more.

Regular backups: thumb drives, external drive, share originals (after scanning) to ensure an off-site copy. Upload to your website/blog: “Gramma took these vacation pictures; do you recognize any bunny?” Liam

I wonder how many of us have a disaster plan for our photographic archives? Bushfires, cyclones, storms, floods are real risks. When I lived in Darwin I was much more attentive to this.

It’s a good question. Grabbing the NAS hard drive is in our Bush Fire Survival Plan. It has everything backed up to it. Our most precious albums go into plastic crates during bush fire season.

Good strategies Greg. At least with cyclones there’s usually more notice and we kept plastic tubs for that purpose too.

I will give FOREVER another plug. For a one off payment I have a personal and business account. It’s just time I am short of!

I must tell you my family photos disaster: Egged on by my uber-organised-scrapbooker-sister I made an album of my first-born’s baby photos. Was quite proud of myself. I left it on the floor & the cat peed on it 😳

Scanning will save the information. I back up and store one PHD in the safe. I put photos on my WikiTree profiles. I had to add new photo corners to the oldest album and rethread the pages to hold them in place

Another of the great challenges for the future which is another reason I like including images in photobooks or blog posts. With thousands of images how do you ensure you keep the standards current let alone your inheritors.

Not really as I don’t have a huge lot of photos. House fire! Also digitised all paperwork. Was a relief to get it done

I don’t have many from my life growing up Jennifer. I lost them in the 1974 Brisbane floods, My mother lost hers in a house fire.  For years I have had a selection of photos packed and ready to evacuate which we had to do several times for bushfires. I still have those boxes ready.

We have an emergency ‘run’ box too. Haven’t had to use it yet. But we are surrounded by heavy bush so it will happen one day. There was no warning for our house fire so even if we’d had it then it wouldn’t have been taken

My dad has been really good at getting copies of photos from cousins, or borrowing them and scanning. I’ve been lucky!

I wonder how many of us have a disaster plan for our photographic archives? Bushfires, cyclones, storms, floods are real risks. When I lived in Darwin I was much more attentive to this.

Our oldest photos

My great grandparents in Melbourne. Before June 1868 as that is when she died. The first in my grandmother’s album which went from Victoria to New Zealand. Most not named or dated, such a shame. #ANZAncestryTime

Brooke gave lots of posts to help with looking after photos

Tame your photo collection

Digitizing your family collection

Organize family photos

Blog posts relating to photos

Marian: Those duplicates,

Carmel: Adding Flickr photos to Trove,

Brooke: Who is in the wedding photo?

Sue: Photo essay, using images,

Readers: How do you look after your family history photos?

Cousin collaboration

Part of the discussion was whether this should be called Cousin Bait as originally mentioned and on the question slides or perhaps a better title was Cousin Collaboration. You can see what I decided by the title of the post. But some answers still use the word bait.

fernandoalmeida / Pixabay

How do you share your family history online? ie blogging, trees, social media?

Also share with immediate family via email as many are older and this is their only online “place”. I have created separate email folders and labels, gmail is good for that – I used to forward emails to Evernote but have dropped back to basic now Evernote’s price has skyrocketed

Yes … agree re gmail … I also make use of folders and labels to organise family history emails from cousins and research contacts etc.

I mainly use blogging for sharing my family history online. I do have an online tree on Ancestry and some other subscription sites. I need to get better at using Facebook I think.

I also print off hard copies of any biographical narratives … they are available to immediate family via a folder on my bookshelf

Does anyone find they get much contact via online trees, either through paid sites or their own? (Other than when DNA is involved)

I get quite a few messages via Ancestry. Most are in response to DNA connections but some are tree related … I do quite a lot of descendant research so have lots of collateral lines in my trees … that helps to prompt tree related messages

I get quite a lot of messages on Ancestry. Not all who contact me are actually related but some have ended up being amazing collaborations! Betsy first found me on Ancestry. Look where that took me!

Just remembered I made some cousin contacts through a local history group on Facebook

I am trying to put my research in as many online places as possible. I am writing biographies on WikiTree and copying them to FamilySearch. I have trees on all the big sites.

I have done the same. Pretty much anywhere my tree can go you’ll find it. I don’t get much interaction anywhere but Ancestry but I live in hope

I’ve had some wonderful people contact me with offers of photos of my grandparents siblings – oooooo!!

I’ve (slowly) come to the realisation that trawling the trees for the cousins themselves (not their data) is a great way to find them and connect. Need to get moving with more of that!

Share my research mainly through blogging then emails once a connection has been made via tree on Ancestry etc

ISDiva / Pixabay

Do you have an intended audience when you share your family history online? Are you looking to collaborate with others?

Sharing my family history online is about telling our stories for future generations, and to encourage older generations to tell their stories.

Encouraging older generations to tell their stories so less history is lost is a great outcome. Takes effort,

We need to write down our own personal memories too so that they become written remembered stories for our descendants

Years ago there was a blogging challenge called The Book of Me. Doing that I recorded much of my childhood experiences. We all need to leave our own for the future

I tend to write mainly for myself (to organise my evidence, thoughts etc. and find the gaps in my research) and for my immediate family so I tend to fly under the radar with my blog

ooh an intended audience…that is such a good question. Well in an ideal world I do try to cite my sources thinking that other family historians would be pretty cranky if I didn’t. But I am hoping to catch cousins too.

I’m a bit naughty when it comes to sources in my blog. I do list these sometimes however it makes the blog post less visually appealing and added work so will go for a “contact me for more info” plus if they are really interested they might contact me

I make use of lots of endnotes

Google alerts are quite useful

I’ve been thinking about audience for the blog lately – some good points here…

@geneastories has lots of good advice about family history story telling (in addition to the linked post above)

My intended audience is mixed. I want to preserve the stories for my family and retain via Pandora. It’s also a way to record my discoveries as a kind of research library

Am finding LivingDNA is getting better with replies to messages and then having to work out how related

I have had an uptake in messages from LivingDNA recently and have been able to connect some by cross referencing to other databases but some are only on LivingDNA and not very forthcoming with detail. Hopefully, it will get easier once trees are added!-?

In the early days of researching I drove for almost two hours to meet up with a cousin who found me through the blog. I gave her all my information and never heard from her again. Learned my lesson then and there

Sometimes it can be very frustrating. I’m talking to a 3C at the mo. (DNA) I’ve connected her to her Irish family, who she did not know, and shared everything with her back to her GGGs. And, she has one birth cert that I’d like, but no…

Ack, that’s disappointing. 🙁 (Which reminds me, I must share some birth certs I ordered recently with a 4th cousin LOL)

I have found my blog is great for non family history contacts. This is because they can Google a name or place and find you if you are fortunate. Even if they are not interested in family history some send a note with a few helpful details.

I mostly share family history information online with the intent to find people related to me. My blog posts are both to record stories and research but I do see them as cousin bait. Tags ensure they are easily found by subject, places, surnames etc

I also wonder about menus and categories. Having a navigation that attracts readers to go deeper takes thought and planning.

I use surnames for categories but I also have a menu for my posts when researching my hard to find Irish great great grandmother

I want to share what I know already and also learn from others. I had huge gaps of knowledge a decade ago and have learnt SO much from wider family members about my ancestors. Always looking to collaborate, as there are still a few mysteries to solve.

My intended audience is just whoever comes after me. I don’t have children and don’t know anybody in the family who would be interested in it, so want to make my research available for the future generations.

Collaboration is best when you can share and exchange with like-minded people. Collaboration doesn’t just flow in one direction.

Not sure if all understand how collaboration works and want information however do not share back

I guess we who have benefited have to model the behaviour we want in others (can you tell I’m staying with my 3yr old grandson just now)

As long as I can catch the cousins then the sharing usually follows!

In the past I have been contacted by people who are only interested in what they can get from me. At first I sent the info and heard nothing more from them. I much prefer collaboration

Intended audience includes (un)known descendants and their collateral lines (latest was the son in law of someone). I’m always willing to collaborate but for the moment, it’s mostly one way as I help with Irish records

I dont write for a specific audience but I do have some followers from UTAS family history who often add comments. Also have some cousins who follow and add info

The audience I target is twofold. Anyone interested in family history that can learn from my experiences and descendants of ancestors. The best contacts are ones with photos. You have to love a photo of a person you have not seen before.

LoboStudioHamburg / Pixabay

What do you consider is your best source of Cousin Collaboration? ie blogs, trees, social media?

hmmm well over the years it has been online trees followed by my blog but I suspect if I used Facebook more I might get more bites.

I find twitter achieves more blog hits. Probably because more people follow me on Twitter. Also more regular posting on Twitter. Smaller FB audience and a lack of posting does not help

Don’t forget … It is another avenue for engaging with others in family history research and doesn’t track you like fb does

The best responses I’ve had have been via my blog, especially when I was posting regularly. I think DNA + online trees have also been a good source of contacts from relatives.

The best thing I’ve found with DNA is the cousins who I “know” who help me separate one line from another. Getting specific people to test helps. I’m amazed how the random DNA inheritance will link one person and not others.

Agree, especially when a tree includes collateral lines in it and enables you to better support inquirers to understand where they connect

family trees with a broad base – that is, engage in descendant research to build down the collateral lines.

Undoubtedly, my best source of cousin bait is my blog. We also stay in touch far longer, as they may follow me. They occasionally email comments, and I’m often in their mind if they come across any new family stories, questions or photos. I love it!

My blog is by far the best source of cousin bait for me too Dara. I can’t quite believe the collaboration and information that has come out of blogging

Yes, on a couple of lines I have a long-term collaborator – and it’s so much extra fun to research those lines

I don’t seem to have much luck with this. Maybe I have too few close cousins. I have been in contact with quite distant cousins. Some are interested, many not.

Wherever you put your information there needs to be enough to “reel them in” too little and they move on

By FAR my best source of cousin bait is blogging. But also Twitter. I have put requests for information on Twitter and its amazing how quickly I get results.

I once asked if anyone knew a particular person and within half a day, the granddaughter of the person had contacted me. She gave me photos and information about the house I was researching in return for a copy of the history

For me it’s blogging for sure. Blog posts are out there forever and I’ve been contacted sometimes years after a post is published

Blogging, emails and family reunions are my best sources

the best source for cousin bait is somewhere that will show up in a search engine and free to access so @WikiTreers is my first choice to get someone found

So far has been the most useful for me. No new cousins have responded on social media, but many have through Ancestry and later through email.

my greatest number of contacts has come through the blog and a few from facebook Aus. bloggers group

Free-Photos / Pixabay


What cousin connections or great finds have you made through sharing information online?

The producers of Coast Australia found my convict blog where I had written about my g g g uncle on Norfolk island. Next thing I was researching for them and flown to NI to appear on the episode with Neil Oliver

Forget the cousins! If I knew blogging could get me a meeting with Neil Oliver I’d have been working my little typing fingers down to the bone. Ooh, that voice…

I went to NZ for a holiday, visited a town where some relatives lived, took photos of some photos they showed me, put on blog with question about who were these people. Have had many comments so I can now name the people in photos

Marvellous photos and ephemera from rediscovered cousins in New Zealand, Australia, England and Ireland which aid research on both my paternal and maternal lines. Some people are incredibly generous

I am constantly amazed at people’s generosity Tara when it comes to sharing family history.

What I found was that the diaspora tended to cherish those mementos far more than those who stayed behind

Very true Tara. My grandmother born in Ireland seemed more attached to her mementos than the relatives back home. I guess her way of staying attached.

My very best cousin connection was my dear 3rd cousin Betsy in Chicago. Our g grandparents were sister and brother. She became one of my closest friends and we solved family mysteries together. Since her death this year I have felt quite alone

Have just managed to take husband’s family back one more generation due to an online contact thru Ancestry. We exchanged many emails and documents etc before making the decision it was the correct family

DNA has led me to make connections with quite a few people – mostly we have not yet found our link. They are now friends even though we have not and probably never will meet in person.

Some fab connections, including distant cousin with well-researched family history for a side of the family I had been wondering about. Most memorably, contact from a descendant of a “lost” sibling of my 2x great grandmother, and the research she shared.

My Irish and Bavarian blogs have drawn in people who are descendants of those I’ve written about.

which demonstrates the importance of place I think

I have connected with a number of cousins from 2nd cousins to further afield due to trees, blog, Facebook

I wrote a blog about my husband’s MacDonalds of Ord. A man commented that his g grandfather had been the gardener at Ord house and on a trip to NZ picked up two seeds for a palm. One went to Kew gardens and one to Ord House. The palm at Kew died

I’ve made good friends as well as cousins through blogging. Found unexpected indirect links to genimates. Gained information I’d never have known about.

I was in touch with a cousin who I collaborated with and visited in England many years ago and lost touch. He was much older than me and I was worried he had passed away. He contacted me through the blog this week. I was so happy to hear from him

my great finds have come through someone sharing thru My Heritage and another thru internet stalking followed by letter writing – found the American connection & photographs of my GG grandmother’s brother – the closest I’ll ever get to what she looks like

Blogs mentioned:

Jane – her own thoughts

Sharn – Sharing her thinking about her conclusion

Hilary – Sharing her stories and research

Readers: How do you make connections for collaborating with other family members?

Sharing your family history

Our 4th twitter chat was on the topic of sharing your family history. Remember to visit our website to check out the whole chat or use the #ANZAncestryTime on twitter.

Again we had questions to guide our thoughts and comments. These chats are always fast paced and as well as comments to the questions there are replies to these comments so lots to take in over a one hour period.

ddimitrova / Pixabay

Question 1 – What audience are you targeting to share your family history? What methods are you using?

  • Pauleen: I share my #familyhistory to share the stories with others and maybe give clues for research, leave a breadcrumb trail for family and others. I share my #familyhistory to record my research process to reflect on in the future. It’s a working diary. I have written one #FamilyHistory and published it and have a couple of drafts on others. My blog is a great magnet for connecting with others.
  • Sharn: The intended audience for my public family history tree is anyone researching the same families. My blogs reach a wider public audience. I hope I am also leaving a record of the family history and stories for my children.  My audience is an important aspect of my family history blogs. Blogs have the potential to reach people with new information to fill in gaps in my knowledge. Because my blogs are public I cite my sources as accurately as possible. I am recording oral family history stories. I use Audacity to edit the recordings and I transcribe them into a private family blog. Some of this information might end up in my public blogs where appropriate. I have three public blogs intended for a general audience and one private which is just for family to read.
  • Carmel: Family, always family the target, have a blog and have used the blog stories in a small book. Also have an online tree which has elicited a couple of queries from distant relative. Have my tree on MyHeritage and gradually adding only direct ancestors to wikitree and FamilySearch – none of them were in either place.
  • Fran: The main audience I target is unknown cousins via Ancestry DNA and my tree at @Ancestry. I attach the ancestry sources to my tree so that it is useful to other researchers. I find my Ancestry tree is useful with the DNA connection. I am sure since I started adding lots of the @Ancestry sources I get more queries.
  • Jane: Family and DNA matches – Sharing facilitates collaboration.
  • Sue (me): I’m writing my family history mainly for me, but if I write a post about a close relatives ancestor then I will contact them to read the post. My blog is for telling stories and research. My trees on Ancestry, My Heritage etc are to make DNA connections with unknown cousins, also direct them to particular posts on the blog they might be interested in.
  • Hilary: I target anyone who might be a descendant of an ancestor or sibling of an ancestor which is why I am on free to access websites. I am finding I get most contacts using @WikiTreers but also #FamilySearchFamilyTree. I also have blogs for family stories and research methodology and discussion. I link to blogs I have written from WikiTree so anyone interested can follow the link.
  • Shane: I have a blog that’s not used much and some good Facebook pages. People I connect with are DNA connections – that are quite close and are keen genies.
  • Jennifer: The research on my blog is a work in progress and often prompts on the direction to take next. When I blog I’m mainly trying to connect with distant family members. I find the blog is a great way to reach out to them.
  • Seonaid: My audience for my family history is my family . . . We have a private Facebook group to share updates . . . new family members find us. I also have a public tree on Ancestry as cousin bait. My blog was another good way of sharing, but its “resting”.
  • Kylie:  I am targeting cousins through my blog and Facebook page.
  • Maggie: I try and target distant family members, to see what stories we can share. I should really blog more! My dad published a book last year on our family history (I helped with a little of the research), and it’s amazing how many people have been in touch after hearing about it or reading it. It’s also useful to go over what you’ve done – sometimes it’s not till I blog about my research that I see a gap, or trip over something I missed the first time.
  • Shauna: I use my blog to record answer stories but I am also doing draft family histories which I can PDF and put on my website as a permanent record.
  • Liz: I am currently targeting my mother and uncle as the audience for a biography of their mother which is being compiled in a written format, hopefully with photos. I anticipate a “second ed” for wider family audience when they give me feedback and info not included. My project will be about 20 pages in total and is aimed to be a Christmas present. Has been a lockdown project for me most weekends.
  • Melissa: I don’t have children, so I see my family history research as my contribution to our legacy! I mostly just share stories with interested family members, & use social media as cousin bait.
  • Dara: I share my #FamilyHistory on my blog, to share my research with known family, and to attract new cousins. I also appreciate the interaction with the #Genealogy#Blogging community. My blog is also a kind of research journal for myself.
  • Sandra: I share my family with family, close and distant. Trees on online and hope to collate everything in a book.
  • Dara: I changed my Ancestry tree to private when a pro-genealogist sold my research to a cousin. I use Ancestry for research, with some tentative relationships added,. I have a Direct Ancestor tree for DNA matches, so I don’t see all the CommonAncestor hints.
  • Brooke: I try to write a good enough story that my audience is anyone interested in historical non-fiction and family history (including my own family). I’m starting to put them on my website.
  • Margaret: I write for anyone who comes after me by adding to WikiTree & FamilySearch.
  • Liz: I have had family heirlooms passed down to me by my Mother and MIL including a ring which is another great way to tangibly share family stories.
  • Judy: On Ancestry I have a private tree (called Ask-Me-For-More-Info) linked to my DNA, & a direct-ancestors-only public tree. I also have a partial tree on MyHeritage & Findmypast & FamilyTreeDNA etc. I’ll soon put a corrected & greatly expanded tree online elsewhere.
jarmoluk / Pixabay

Question 2 – What collaborations, photos, meetups etc have come from sharing?

The Sorell historical society have a Facebook page which has lots of sharing of photos and stories from people around the world not just the Sorell municipality – Sue

I’m always amazed by the people who contact me via my #familyhistory blog or via knowing what my research interests are – Pauleen

I’ve met up with many distant cousins through sharing my family history. We have been able to share research info and photos – Jennifer

My father’s Newfoundland cousins found us on Facebook, and have added photos of family members for us, the local church and village. We shared photos of us & our English family. Two English cousins visited Newfoundland village & cousins – Seonaid

A man in the UK found a trunk of his father’s records mentioning my g uncle which supported the suspicion he was a spy in WW2. The man’s notes indicated sabotage of aircraft being repaired by my g uncle’s company – Sharn

I have met cousins through @WikiTreers and we have got together we enjoy collaborating – Hilary

It relies on some keen people from different families but working through the local family history society would be the starting point I think – Shane

I found a cousin (distanced) who had the family bible of my GGG grandmother from Ireland. When I visited I took photos and was allowed to hold it. Quite moving and definitely worth contacting collateral lines. Who knows what is out there? – Shauna

Just last week I was connected with a cousin through the Toowoomba society who know my #Kunkelfamily interest. She has filled a gap that I hadn’t been able to close in my tree! Yay for connections! – Pauleen

I’ve run a few family reunions back in the 80s and 90s, mostly done on paper for family members to add info on, then I put on database on my home computer. Last reunion I took computer with me to print out family descendant charts etc – Sue

I use to blog on Hunting Ancestors, I wrote about how Uncle George died at sea during WWII. A researcher found it, sent me a photo of the vessel my Uncle died on. The crew list was written on the back, in the crew’s own handwriting – Seonaid

A new DNA match had their own website so we could share what we both had me in England he in Australia – Hilary

I’ve met the family who inherited the land from my Co Clare ancestors, and cousin descendants of my 2xgreat grandmother’s siblings in Ireland and kin in Australia – Pauleen

A blog I wrote was found by a diver who had discovered the wreck of my g uncle’s super yacht Warrior in the English Channel. he sent me a small piece of the yacht and photos of the wreck. Sadly Alan died diving on the wreck – Sharn

Through my blog and my website I was contacted by someone who also matched me with DNA – she sent through photos of my GG grandmother’s sisters. They all looked alike. Wonderful connection – Shauna

I have had a bible and photographs of family from strangers from having information online – Hilary

Had a number of gatherings through sharing photos and information on a Facebook group. Unfortunately, that group was taken down by the person who started it – Sandra

A blog I wrote about my Irish g g grandmother reached family in Ireland I did not know who had seen her name in her grandfather’s will but not known who she was. We exchanged information and swapped photos and family documents story – Sharn

Found a distant cousin on a FB local group for the Welsh town where my 2xGGs lived… She had PHOTOS!! – Melissa

I’ve found when I’ve blogged about my DNA some of my Ancestry DNA connections have contacted me and we have ongoing collaboration – Jennifer

My six siblings shared photos I didn’t know existed once they started reading my blog – guess I hadn’t previously asked the right questions – Carmel

It is important to cite your sources as accurately in public blogs. The National Library of Australia archives family history blogs on their Pandora site. One of my convict blogs is in the NSW Education curriculum for primary students – Sharn

Meeting cousins but also #localhistorians can also make a big difference to your research discoveries – Pauleen

We have a semi-regular cousins meetup for one side of the family, and I’ve have had family bibles, photos and stories shared from connecting through my blog posts – Maggie

Too numerous to mention, but I’ve received lots of photos of great-grandaunts and uncles, In return, I provide research on their family lines. We’ve few surviving photos on my branch to share. I’ve met up with about half-dozen previously unknown cousins – Dara

Have also had photos from a cousin who had a whole album to share complete with details on a spreadsheet – Carmel

I share mostly with the UTAS Alumni group – and I just started the Strathclyde Masters course so should be some new contacts there (about 9 Aussies doing the course at some level) – Shane

I managed to make contact with “lost” cousins in Australia and New Zealand (and USA). Through them I’ve learned missing parts of the family story but they’ve also shared photos including one of my GGgrandfather. None survive in Ireland – Tara

It was fascinating to see how they’d preserved memory of “place”. New Zealand cousins, for example, named their dairy herd after the Irish townland they’d left more than 100 years earlier – Tara

notnixon / Pixabay

Question 3 – Sharing of sensitive information – guidelines, problems, feedback

  • Jennifer: I don’t blog about the living either stories or photos without their permission. If info is publicly available it’s probably ok to share but I still don’t share it if there are living close family connections.
  • Fran: I try not to share information online that I think might be upsetting to some person. However with DNA matches people do find out things they might not have known previously.
  • Sharn: I do not share sensitive information that concerns living people or their immediate descendants. If it happened back the 1800’s I might share it depending on its nature.
  • Seonaid: Sharing depends on who & what you are sharing. Some people believe the stories they believe and you can’t change their minds. We should check whether our families want to know everything – good or bad. Be sensitive around illegitimacies or other “scandals”.
  • Pauleen: For me this question has to be addressed within the context of a timeframe. And what is “sensitive”? If it’s in the public domain eg an “early” birth then it may be sensitive but doesn’t have to be hidden. Are close family members still alive? There are some things I wouldn’t share while close elderly family members are alive. I don’t think it’s up to us to bust open family secrets eg adoptions, scandals etc when the people most closely involved are alive. Record but not disclose.
  • Shauna: Never thought after 40 years of research that this would be a problem – a DNA test revealed that Dad’s biological father was not Granddad – I have talked about the impact on me and I have traced his biological family – I have made no attempt to contact them.
  • Maggie: I don’t blog about the living, unless it’s about genie conferences. I tend to err on the side of caution when sharing sensitive information.
  • Sue: My dad is my problem child with bigamous father, illegitimate mother, half cousins etc so always ask first if he wants anything published on the blog.
  • Melissa: I think the American NSG has some excellent guidelines re: sensitive info sharing.
  • Sharn: Know the PRIVACY LAWS where you live and how they relate to sharing sensitive information. Privacy law relates only to living people. I try to present sensitive information about the past in a thoughtful but accurate manner.
  • Hilary: I think it is important to record the truth if it is different to the record but not disclose it publicly.
  • Kylie: I’ve made mistakes in my zeal to find and share info so now I try to share a brief outline or hint to something and offer more info privately.
  • Liz: I do have a number of examples of sensitive info I have unearthed in my family history. I do not make it public online. I have shared it with other family researchers who I know are genuine, interested and respectful.
  • Shauna: DNA is a game changer and we should always make sure that people may be aware of potential surprises.
  • Melissa: I’m very conscious of the fact that there are things my mother & her generation might not want shared, due to differing values. It’s a dilemma, ‘coz I also think my own values are right.
  • Sandra: I don’t share sensitive information online. Maybe sometimes with family who I trust. So far I’ve only told my siblings who our dad’s father was.
  • Dara: I’m very careful to only blog about things that won’t cause upset. Genealogy is my hobby – for fun – I want it to be fun for everyone who comes across it. I never name the living. If anything is controversial, I only blog about it if their grandkids are dead.
  • Pauleen: Treating our ancestors with the same respect and non-salacious attitude as we’d hope for is important. Privacy legislation is critical.
  • Sharn: We cannot rewrite history and we all have skeletons in our family closets but I believe family historians have an obligation to tell the stories about the PAST truthfully. Discretion and privacy is needed if living people are affected.
  • Fiona: Not online. If writing a family history share a draft with descendants before publication so they can give feedback on their part of the book first.
  • Pauleen: To comply with privacy legislation I got every living family member to sign off on their entry in the book. No signature, no entry..they got three notices. Some weren’t happy but c’est la vie.
  • Brooke: When I figured out who my “new” 75yo aunt’s father was, I drafted a very sensitive letter to his daughter. Then I got impatient & simply cold-called her in UK. Thank goodness she didn’t hang up. She’d known for over 50 years she had a sister. I reunited them.
  • Sue: Knowing about copyright with your blog and other online social media -a great post by a current teacher but applies to us all
DarkmoonArt_de / Pixabay

Question 4 – Brainstorm some of the ways we could share our family history

I am on an excellent FB page but its focused on a locality (Tarana NSW) which allows lots of families to contribute rather than page for each family – Shane

I have also compiled small heritage scrapbooks with photos (not originals), journaling and decoration which are great for sharing with all ages and a fun manageable way to share family stories – Liz

Digitally scrapbooked books to share with family – Fiona

Other ways to share family history is giving talks to community groups. I have spoken about my research on a plane crash on my grandparents property in WW2 – Liz

Sharing more trees in different places online. Social media – like Pinterest, Facebook Groups for families. Tools to make sharing more eye catching Animoto & Canva for making images – Fran

Has anyone produced a family history newsletter or organised a family reunion? These are ways to share family history. I also write an annual Christmas Letter and sometimes reveal interesting stories uncovered that year – Liz

Blogs, online trees, giving talks to local societies or at conferences – I am always amazed when someone comes up and says you mentioned my person or place – talk about your ancestors whenever you can – Shauna

Christmas present booklets, crafts, scrapbooking, make video or audio recordings of family stories – Kylie

Simple family group sheets are a simple way to share family history research or gedcoms for serious researchers you want to collaborate with – Liz

One day I would like to write a book. But for now, I barely have time to do my own research. I don’t have enough time to blog. I guess its the old saying about the mechanic and their car, or the builder and their own house – Seonaid

I’ve done a variety of things: little photo books of ancestors for the grandkids and bigger one they take when the topic comes up at school – Pauleen

Scrapbooks can be collaborative, get kids to contribute jokes, art work etc b/c it can be about the new babies and current family members as well as our ancestors – Liz

Write Family History Blogs, publish Family Histories, Print Family trees for family members, share family history in a family Facebook group, create a family Website – Sharn

I gave my mother a pedigree tree for her birthday, and have since had requests from other family members for their own copy! Looks lovely framed, and pretty easy to do – Melissa

I enjoy preparing presentations for talks – sometimes gives me the opportunity to research my own family to use as case studies. Justifies using work time, I’m often too tired when I get home from work, too busy at weekends. Looking forward to retirement 🙂 – Seonaid

My friend Crissouli writes poetry about her recent family’s history -very evocative. Others I’ve seen write up an ancestor’s diary (oh we can wish!) – Pauleen

I printed out our family tree for my son. Then joined it all together and pinned it on the curtain. It has become a real talking point when family come to visit – Sandra

Presentations, blogs, displays, gifts for family of personalised family trees – Fiona

Someone shared an old autograph book on YouTube by showing the pages as different people read out the messages, poems, etc. A beautiful way to share the words of our ancestors – Brooke

Create Family History ‘Tours’ using Google Earth. Plot locations and add stories, photos and documents to share a visual story with family – Sharn

Do not overlook the importance of digitising photos and records as these can be easily shared with others – Liz

I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year with the goal of writing up my notes on my first settler ancestors in NZ. 70,000 words is doable… I hope – Melissa

I’ve found one advantage of being self isolated due to covid is pretending to be retired and having time for research and writing – Jennifer

Always try to include and interesting graphic or photo in blog posts, use Canva, Photofunia and Photomapo apps – Carmel

Always enjoy preparing presentations where one can include family findings as examples, never know who may be in the audience – Carmel

Create a family history recipe book with family recipes, (or ones from the relevant time frame) anecdotes and photos relating to ancestors to share with family members – Sharn

Found one sad life from scanning the old photo album. One photo confirmed my great aunt’s marriage. That ended up badly and she died in an asylum. All found in Trove – Margaret

I like to put the relationship between myself & the main subject of my blog post at the end of the post – Brooke

Sharing stories using Adobe Spark to add photos and narration – Hilary

I have found that hooking my computer up to a big TV is successful. Nothing prepared so we jump all over the place as people ask about their ancestors. They always ask if I will do it next time I visit – Fran

I put together #PlanToPublish this year to encourage sharing of family history and to get it out of computers and shared with our families – Fiona

When my grandkids visit I show them the heritage items they are going to inherit and explain their significance. I just hope it sinks in. I really need to do a heritage items photo book with notes – Pauleen

Another possibility is to use the A to Z blogging theme each year to put them together – a family story booklet or a recipe booklet – Pauleen

Have shared folders in Google Drive for different branches of family where I put all the documents and photos – they don’t have delete access! – Carmel

Your descendants need to know your story as well record it whilst you can – Hilary

I think video is way to go. Not sure if anyone saw that MOOC “WW1: A History in 100 Stories” it told a lot of stories with just few slides – very simple and direct – Shane

Post stories in your personal Facebook account, interview rellies at short notice and record on the phone, collect family recipes, advertise your research interests, post photos to @Flickr or a slide show to @YouTube – Liz

When people were still excited about Zoom meetings (!) I put a powerpoint about #My8Great grandparents together for my siblings. Captive audience in lockdown – Brooke

I share my research on two global trees. I email cousins and send them records. I’ve helped 3 people find birth fathers. I’m breaking down brick walls by DNA matching – Margaret

I talked to my aunts/uncles as 2 grands were gone and the other 2 too far away. Now Mum and Dad’s generation are all gone, and my younger cousins are slowly finding me to tell them their stories. Compiling from my blog to make a PDF book to share – Sir Leprechaun Rabbit (SLR)

If doing things with your grandkids here are some apps to use – Photography, video making, other video making options- Sue (once a teacher, always a teacher)


Blogs of #ANZAncestryTime members

Sharn – FamilyHistory4U

Pauleen – Family History across the seas

Brooke – Brooke Wooldridge

Sophie – The Parchment Rustler

Shane – 1808-1884 – From New England to the Riverina

Did you take part in last weeks Gravetales geneameme organized by Carmel? Here are some posts published by Carmel, Pauleen and Fran.

Tools to help share the family history

Carmel has written a post about some of the tools below.

Audacity for recording stories, can be used on most platforms, has a manual to help with problems

Clanview website – publish your family history online to be viewed online in 3D

Animoto – great for video making, the Learn area has tutorials, blogs, help section

Canva – great for poster type info eg annotated maps, includes tutorials and help

Photofunia – edit and add features to your photos

Photomapo – using your photos and maps

PicCollage – add lots of photos in the one collage, great when travelling

Adobe Sparkcreate graphics, webpages and videos easily

Readers: How do you share your family history? Public or private, only family or open to the world?