Organizing your Family History

If you are like me, you or your family has collected a large amount of physical material for your family
history. I struggled for a long time on how to organize and share what I had with the rest of my family. In
this article, I will explain a couple of options for preserving and organizing your family history.


The first step for organizing your family history needs to be digitizing. When you digitize, it makes storing,
organizing and sharing so much easier. Digitizing your photos and documents is an important way to preserve your family information from any accidents, weather events, or time itself that could damage your collection. You can digitize just about anything such as:

  • Documents
  • Photos
  • Letters
  • Journals
  • Pedigree and group sheets


Once your media has been digitized, how do you go about organizing your family history so you can find it and it is easier to share? There are many different ideas. I’ll discuss two in this article.

The first, organizing by Surname, works around organizing all of your information based on the Surnames in your genealogy. You can create separate nested albums in your storage account to store the correct information based on each family.

The second way is based on Ahnentafel numbering. Ahnentafel is a German word meaning “Ancestor Table” and is a standard genealogical numbering system. This organizational technique assigns every individual a number based on their relationship to person number 1. Person number 1 is typically you, with your father and mother being numbers are 2 and 3 respectively. Then you can set up a structure of nested albums in your storage account based on those numbers. If you would like to know more about this, I will be teaching a free class on Monday March 28, 2022. Contact me to get the link to a free Zoom meeting.


After spending time digitizing and organizing your family history, it is much easier to share the information with anyone who might be interested. Sending things digitally is much simpler today and replaces the costly duplication and
mail method I grew up with.

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