With the COVID-19 virus confining so many of us to our homes, it is easy to forget what we could or should be doing during this time. I had a long list of tasks to do around my house up until it was recommended for us to stay home. Poof! Like magic, all of those tasks and ideas left my brain. To feel productive in all of this chaos, here are some ideas of genealogy tasks you can do from home.
Scanning Family History Documents
Do you have boxes of old family photos or paperwork sitting around? Why not digitize them? Scanning your family history documents and photos and converting them to digital files is a great way to preserve them for future generations. Having your photos and documents on your computer keeps them at your fingertips for easy access and keeps you from having to handle the originals too often.
Your home printer/ scanner will do the job for scanning your photos and documents, however if you have a lot of items to scan, this will take some time as you can only scan one at a time. There are batch scanners that allow you to scan batches of photos, but they are a bit pricey.
For iPhone or iPad user, you can scan documents using your Notes app and the camera on your phone. Here is how:
Open the notes app on your iPhone. You will be taken to a screen that says “Folders”. Press “New Folder” at the bottom of the screen. I named my folder “Scans” just for this project. Once you have created the folder, open it and you should see something like the image below.
To start a scan, click the camera icon just above the keyboard.
After clicking the camera icon, you will be given option to scan a photo, take a photo, or go to your photo library. For this you want to click “Scan Documents”
Now you are ready to scan your documents. Just hover your phone’s camera over the item you wish to scan and wait for a few seconds for the camera to focus and adjust. If the “Auto” setting is on, the phone should scan the document for you once it has adjusted.
Once your phone has taken then scan, click save. This will take you back to the note where you can either write a note to go with the scan, or click the send to button in the right upper corner of the screen and choose where you would like to send the image.
Organizing Electronic Genealogy Files
Now that you have all of those photos and documents scanned, you have to be able to find them again. Spending time now organizing your files will make it a lot easier to find your documents later. To learn more about organizing your genealogy, check out my post Tips for Organizing Genealogy Research for some ideas on how to organize your genealogy files.
Declutter Your Genealogy
Well, it is Spring after all so why not do a little spring cleaning. Decluttering your genealogy is a great place to start. If you are anything like me, you end up saving everything you think may possibly be useful. Take some time to go through your genealogy stash and assign items to the people in your tree they belong to. Think how nice it will be to know what you have and be able to find it.
Take an Inventory of Your Genealogy Data
Do you know exactly what genealogy data you have for each person in your tree? I sometimes get frustrated when I am researching an ancestor, think I have found a great piece of info, only to look in my file and find I have already printed that information 3 times. Keeping a binder with a simple inventory sheet for each person you research can help. Want to do it electronically? Try using google documents and google drive to keep your sheets organized and on hand. It’s free and as long as you have internet access and can remember your password, it will go where you go.
Online Ancestor Searches
I don’t always have the money to sign up for subscriptions to paid ancestry sites, but sometimes they have information I need that I cannot get using the free sites. I solve this by only signing up when I know I have time to use the paid site to the best of my ability, and only for a short time. I use the time that I am paying for access to research, print, and save my genealogy finds. Then when my subscription runs out, I use that time to sort though the information I have found. If you keep a list on hand of information you are looking for, it makes it easy to know just what to search when you do sign up.
If you are lucky enough to have other family members searching some of the same branches of your family tree, this is a great time to collaborate with them. Just because we are practicing social distancing does not mean you cannot give them a call. Skype is a great way to communicate and even allows you to share your screen to show the other person what you are looking at, or share files with them.
Online Genealogy Classes
Got some extra time on your hands? Why not take a class? Even when we think we already know how to do something, taking a refresher can point out things we may have forgotten or teach us something totally new. To find a class to take, check out the free online classes in our post Learn How to do Genealogy.
Citing Your Genealogy Data Sources
I know. For most of us, citing our genealogy data sources is about as exciting as writing a 10 page paper on the history of grocery stores, but since citing your work is important, it needs to be done. Taking a little time now to double check your information for source citing can save you a lot of headache and heartache later.
The Legal Stuff
Please keep in mind that when you click our links and make purchases, we may receive a small commissions. This does not impact our reviews and comparisons as I try my best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.