canstockphoto16180022 downloaded 3 January 2015This one should be pretty easy for most of you. If you don’t already have some kind of genealogy software on your computer, you should choose one and install it. The most popular ones include: FamilyTreeMaker, Legacy Family Tree, and RootsMagic, Ancestral Quest, and for the Mac, Reunion.

If you need more information and reviews, there’s a Wiki page, “Comparisons of Genealogy Software.” and another (not Wiki) page, “Top Ten Reviews” of software.

Once you’ve decided on software and installed it, you should take some time to watch some of their “how to” videos. If you don’t already have a family tree in the software, add the family you will be researching with enough information and sources so you may pick up the trail from there.

One final assignment for this challenge. It has to do with your photos. Decide how you will scan and name your photos and where you will store the digital images. Then, make yourself a “cheat sheet” or flow chart to put near your computer.

Denise May Levenick, the Family Curator, has a book out, How to Archive Family Keepsakes.1 Her book goes into great detail about what size dpi to scan, the best format, etc.  She has produced a .pdf titled, “How to Scan an Elephant: Digitize Your Family History from Artifact to Zombie.”

Here’s my flow chart to scan a photo:

Open Adobe Photo Elements > Editor > File>Import>[my printer]

Set scanning preferences: 600 dpi is best; make it color even though the photo is black and white

Prescan/Preview > Adjust crop > Start > Editor

Save As .tiff – Do not edit this version! It’s the original. > Give it a unique file name

Save > File > Duplicate (copy) > Copy.tiff Edit this version only!

Right click on the image to close the .tiff > Make sure it gets stored in the right Windows file…

So that’s your challenge for this week: Set up some genealogy software, learn how to use it, and make a flow chart for scanning your photos.

  1. Denise May Levenick, How to Archive Family Keepsakes (Family Tree Books, 2012).