Tips & Stories

Document Your Family History in Evernote

Document Your Family History in Evernote

Posted by Taylor Pipes on 26 Dec 2013

Posted by Taylor Pipes on 26 Dec 2013

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Think back to grade school. Do you remember being assigned a project where you had to build your family tree?

In those days, it was a challenging, time-consuming process to hunt down the information you needed to produce a detailed map of your family roots. It may have required long-distance phone calls to far-flung grandparents, digging through family records, cataloging photos from dusty albums and reproducing family shields via dot-matrix printers.

Those difficult days are a thing of the past when you use the powerful archiving capability of Evernote to help you dive deep into your family history, and to share that information for generations. Here’s how Evernote can help you tackle the task of discovering and documenting your family history.

Prepare
Recording your family’s past starts with a little preparation. Create a note with a list of the questions you want to ask relatives about their memories. Create a checklist of the family members you want to spend time talking to, and set Reminders to schedule time with them.

Research
You can begin compiling research with a quick trip online. Today, many vital records and genealogical histories have been made available on the Internet. Use Evernote’s Web Clipper to capture and catalog important connections you see including links, text and images.

Interview
Create a list of the questions you want to ask family members. Then, when you begin the interview, you can reference your questions using Evernote on your mobile device or tablet. Leave space between each question, and you can type in little notes or thoughts to reference later.

Keep your focus on family. When interviewing, you can use Evernote’s audio capture function to record your interview in an Audio Note, allowing you to focus on the conversation without missing any details of their story.

Premium Tip: Recording length is only limited by the total size of the note. Free users can record 25MB in one note, while Evernote Premium users can record 100MB per note. Upgrade to Premium to store longer audio notes, bigger files, and more of everything else you need to document your family history in each note.

Scan
Dust off those albums and pull out the boxes of old family photos. Make use of the visual history photos tell and quickly capture them into Evernote, forever. Snap photos of individual images using Evernote for your mobile device. Tag them with keywords associated with family members, dates or locations tied to the photo.

familyhistoryscreenshot

With the ScanSnap Evernote Edition Scanner, you can preserve entire batches of family photos. Each photograph is stored in a note as a high-resolution scanned image. The double-sided scanner can run through up to 25 pages a minute. It’s also smart enough to recognize handwriting, so it will pick up and scan any handwritten notes or details scrawled on the back of family photos.

Do you plan to use Evernote to capture your family history this holiday? Share your stories in the comments.

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2 Comments RSS

  • jbenson2

    Evernote is fine for storing raw data. When a relative mentions something you can throw it into Evernote and then work on validating the info. Eventually, your genealogical information will be far easier to work with once it is stored in software designed for family history. Genealogy software will calculate relationships (2nd counsins, step parents, multiple divorces and marriages, etc). And it will search for possible problems (death date after funeral date, age of children not jiving with age of parents, etc). And the software will create visual family trees that can be very informative.

    Be sure to use software that stores family history and genealogical event data in the standard GEDCOM (GEnealogical Data COMmunications) genealogy format. This allows you to save data in an ASCII text format that can be opened by different genealogy programs on multiple computer systems. And be sure to maintain backups in a safe location.

  • jbenson2

    Evernote is fine for storing raw data. When a relative mentions something you can throw it into Evernote and then work on validating the info. Eventually, your genealogical information will be far easier to work with once it is stored in software designed for family history. Genealogy software will calculate relationships (2nd counsins, step parents, multiple divorces and marriages, etc). And it will search for possible problems (death date after funeral date, age of children not jiving with age of parents, etc). And the software will create visual family trees that can be very informative.

    Be sure to use software that stores family history and genealogical event data in the standard GEDCOM (GEnealogical Data COMmunications) genealogy format. This allows you to save data in an ASCII text format that can be opened by different genealogy programs on multiple computer systems. And be sure to maintain backups in a safe location.