Posted in Research tips

How I digitized my research and gave it all to you…Part 2: I used my phone!

In a previous post I discussed how I digitized my genealogy files and added them to the FamilySearch Family Tree as a way to share them with relatives and archive them for posterity.   As awe-inspiring as that post was, I am happy to report I’ve found an even easier way to accomplish this!

And if the idea of sharing ALL your files with anyone is too overwhelming to think about, how about an easy way to just share a few? We’ve all got a few documents or photos that nobody else in the family has, and we can all benefit from sharing those unique sources.  Whether you have just a few items or a file cabinet full, the methodology is the same for digitizing it and sharing it using the FamilySearch Family Tree or Memories app for phones and tablets. Yep, I’m not exactly ditching my full-size scanner, but I want to show you how you can use any scanner app to easily digitize records and upload them to the FamilySearch Family Tree.

Lately I’ve been giving serious thought to what will happen to all my files after I’m gone, and I do not want anyone else to have to sort through them to determine what’s worth keeping.  (Yep, I still have a few binders left—I didn’t actually give it all to you the first go-around.) At the Family History Center where I volunteer someone recently dropped off a huge amount of boxes containing their parent’s research.  It is largely useless to anyone in this format, even though everything was in tidy file folders.  It made me sad to see.  Trust me—nobody wants your boxes of stuff!  That does not mean it is not extremely valuable to someone.  It’s just that the “stuff” will never be seen by that someone.  What I’m suggesting in this post is a way to almost guarantee it will be seen by that someone who cares, and all your years of researching will be passed on in a way that will interest those who see it.  It will have context and meaning.

I should start off by giving you a little background on why I choose the FamilySearch Family Tree to share my files.

First, the Family Tree is a collaborative (shared) tree, meaning whatever I add will be viewable to my relatives, and whatever they add will be viewable to me.  If my cousin adds an old newspaper clipping to our grandfather’s page, it will show up for all of us to see on “our” trees.  We do not have to share files back and forth because there is only one tree.  If my children log in to their accounts, they will see those same pictures attached to their great-grandfather.

Second, the FamilySearch Family Tree is not going away.  The things I share there will be available to my kids’ kids’ kids’ kids’ kids’ kids’ kids’ kids’.

There are several ways to add your digitized files to the Family Tree.  It can be done from within the FamilySearch website directly onto the tree, it can be done using the Family Tree app on your phone or tablet, or it can be done using the FamilySearch Memories app.  Today I’d like to show you how to add these documents using the phone apps.  To try this out yourself you will first need to create a free FamilySearch account.

How to add documents to the Family Tree using FamilySearch Family Tree app

The Family Tree app looks like this.  It is free.  FT

You will also need to download a scanner app to your phone or tablet.  Two I like are Genius Scan and Turbo Scan.  I think they both have a free version.

Download the apps to your phone or tablet, find a document you’d like to attach to your online tree, and follow these steps:

2019-07-01 14-27

  1. Take photo of document with a phone scanner app such as Genius Scan. It squares up the corners of the document and crops background so all you have left is a scan of the document.  (Can use other apps if preferred.)
  2. Export to your camera’s photos (click on square with arrow).  NOTE:  The save to photo option only appears if you choose JPG format.
  3. Open the FamilySearch Family Tree app to the person you want to add the document to.
  4. Select “Memories”
  5. Click the green plus sign
  6. Click “Add document”img_7086
  7. Your camera roll will appear.  Tap on the document you want to attach.
  8. Click “Upload”
  9. SAVE
  10. Delete the document from your GeniusScan and camera roll if desired.

The document will now appear as a “memory” in the Family Tree. There, you can open up the image and assign a title, add an event date and place, provide a description, and tag everyone in the document so it will appear as a memory in their Memories area.  You can even record an audio file that will be attached to the document!

img_7085

How to add documents to the Family Tree using FamilySearch Memories app

The FamilySearch Memories app looks like this.  It is also free.  memories

Download it to your phone or tablet, find a document you’d like to attach to your online tree, and follow these steps:

  1. Take photo of document with a phone scanner app such as Genius Scan. It squares up the corners of the document and crops background so all you have left is a scan of the document.  (Can use other apps if preferred.)
  2. Export to your camera’s photos (click on square with arrow).  NOTE:  The save to photo option only appears if you choose JPG format.
  3. Open the Memories app
  4. Tap the green plus sign
  5. Tap “Add Document”
  6. Your phone’s camera roll will appear
  7. Tap the document you want to upload to the Family Tree and then tap “Upload”
  8. SAVE
  9. Your document will now appear in your app’s photo/document gallery
  10. Tap the document and then add a title
  11. Notice the microphone?  You can talk about this document and the audio file will be attached to the document
  12. Last and most important step:  Tap the silhouette with the green plus sign and then tap the image.  This will allow you to “tag” the image with the name of the person in the tree you are attaching this file to.   If you do not tag it, it will just be a floater in your photo gallery, and will not be attached to an individual’s Memories area.  Above, in the Family Tree app this step is not necessary because you first choose the individual before adding the memory.

What do you think?  Have you used either of these apps this way?  The apps allow you to take a photo of a document from within the app, but I prefer using a scanner app first because it creates a nicer-looking document with squared corners and no background.  The Memories app does allow for a speedy workflow, scanning a bunch of documents first, then opening up the gallery and tagging each image, but try out both methods and see which one works best for you.

 

 

Author:

I am an Accredited Genealogist® professional living in California. I have been researching and teaching since 1988.

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