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Research Notes 2020-2-10

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At Saturday’s meeting, David McFee demonstrated why digitizing our research is so important. Scanning photos, documents and other ephemera not only makes those memories available to share with your family, it also protects them from disaster.

Today’s scanning tools are much easier to use. Your mobile phone – Android or iOS – and a good scanning app is an easy and affordable way to scan. All you do is hold your phone over the photo or document you want to scan and the app takes care of the rest.


The FamilySearch Memories app is free and available for iOS and Android phones and/or tablets. It makes it possible to take photos, scan photos and documents and even record conversations. Once you have captured these items, you can save them to your FamilySearch account. Those items will be attached to the appropriate ancestors in the FamilySearch Family Tree and posted to your Memories section. You can also make copies of them to be shared with others.

While other online photo-sharing platforms come and go, FamilySearch Memories will make sure that your memories will last forever.

Want to learn more? Download the Family-Search-Memories booklet.


FamilySearch isn’t the only scanning app available to you. The Google Photos app (free – available for Android and iOS devices) will automatically back up to your Google Drive (free) or iCloud storage. Both options mean those photos and documents are available to you anywhere you have an online connection. There are a broad range of mobile scanning apps available for your device. Start with the easy ones described here then, as you gain experience, take a look at some of the more sophisticated apps.

One more thing . . . a mobile phone with cellular access and a cloud storage service means you have access to your research anywhere you have a signal. Not only does it save you time, it’s a lot lighter than carrying all those notebooks with you.

The Storytellers Studio blog on Tumblr ( has a number of posts related to digitizing your research and photos.


David McFee also discussed the importance of storytelling. Photos and records are important, but they don’t say much about personality and interests. Was he an artist? Did she enjoy sewing? These are the things that add “color” to your research. What is the story behind the special ornament on your family’s Christmas tree? If you don’t capture those stories, future generations won’t have a clue.

Once again, your mobile devices can help you. Add a journaling app and you have an amazing storytelling tool. Most journals support photos along with the text. Some even include audio and/or video too. When you have a journaling app on your mobile phone, it’s easy to capture a special moment like a baby’s first step or a graduate receiving his diploma.

Want to learn more? The Storytellers Studio blog is also a good resource for storytelling ideas, apps and tools.


Reminder . . . don’t wait til the last minute to register for this year’s conference. Classes are filling up fast. Go to the conference home page and download the registration brochure to choose your classes and complete your registration. Cost for the conference is $25 and includes lunch. After March 2nd the cost of registration goes up to $30.

SAGS members Paul Howes and Denise Olson will be presenters. Paul has two programs – Crossing the Atlantic and Checking the Link to Your British Cousins Using Modern Records.  Denise’s program is Affordable Research – Find and Capture Your Family History Without Going Broke.


The FamilySearch Community network is taking off like wildfire! The Groups area is impressive. The How to Use FamilySearch Community is a good place to start. There are a number of volunteers helping new members get comfortable using the site. They are even organizing online events like the 24 Hour Genealogy Marathon scheduled for March 12-13. MyHeritage is hosting it and Legacy Family Tree Webinars are featured. They also have some online accessibility planned for RootsTech. That could be interesting.

To access the FamilySearch Community, you will first need to create a free FamilySearch account ( Once your account is created, click on the ?Help item at the top of the screen then choose Community on the drop-down list. You will then be taken to the home screen like the one you see above. Spend some time looking around. You will likely have a volunteer contact you to see if there is anything they can do to help you get comfortable in the community. Choose a group or two that relate to your research.


I’ve added several groups but I’m spending most of my time in the How to Use FamilySearch Community group to get comfortable and see how things operate. I hope to see other SAGS members taking advantage of this impressive research resource.

Final Notes

Each new post published at SAGS Support is automatically emailed to member subscribers and/or delivered to their newsreader. Research Notes is published every Monday morning and other articles are posted during the week. Subscribers have the option to control how often these updates are delivered. Look down at the bottom of this message and you will find a Manage Subscriptions link in the fine print as you see in this example. Click it and you will be taken to the Subscription Management page. Use the Delivery Frequency column to change your delivery options from “Immediate” to either “Daily” or “Weekly”.

Sample of the “fine print” at the bottom of each post.

Also down at the bottom of each delivered post is a Comment button. If you would like to comment on something discussed in a post or ask a question, just click the Comment button and you will be taken online to the comment section of the post where you can share your thoughts and read what others have shared.

To learn more, download a copy of the SAGS Support Guide.

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