A 4-Step Strategy to Research Your Family History and Organize Your Family Photos

Researching your family history goes hand-in-hand with organizing family photos, home movies, and your other media files. Various tools are useful in researching your family history but how do you store the information as you find it?

Here’s a strategy for uncovering the people and stories in your family line while also organizing your most meaningful memories caught on camera, video, and in other ways.

Bring all of your findings and all of your media from the present and years past to one special place—FOREVER®.

Screenshot of digital photo album
My main album, Travel Memories, has sub-albums or nested albums

I’ve been using FOREVER® for the past several years both personally and with my photo coaching clients, and it’s the most powerful and comprehensive memory-keeping solution available.

I’ll cover it in more detail below, but you can also check it out at the following link and try it for no cost:

Click here for 2 free GB of storage space to try FOREVER®.

Now let’s develop your family research strategy.


Step 1 Decide your goals

Traditional Scrapbook A

What are your goals for family research and who are you doing this for? It may be to give yourself a better understanding of your family and to give your children and grandchildren a perspective for the future.

Blended families want to establish their new and lasting identity. Foster families and adoptive families have a special task if you incorporate the line of birth families.

Here’s an idea.

What are the ages of your children, and do you know their interest level in learning about the family?

If they’re young, then you can frame their interest in a way that relates well to them. If they like sports, then ask, “Hey, let’s see how my grandfather played sports.” Or, “Let’s look at their school and see what life was like.”

If they’re older in college or with their own families, then you might locate a story from past relatives to inspire them as young fathers or mothers.

Whatever your reason for researching family history, make sure you enjoy the journey!


Step 2 Work backward

Fill in what you know about your parents and grandparents. Look at the photos you have and any videos.

Contact close or distant cousins to get more input on birthplaces, life events, and stories.

Match the details with photos and home movies you have.

This can be a life work of bringing puzzle pieces together and seeing a full picture of your family emerge.

Read on to see how you can use FOREVER® to write the stories into your photo descriptions.


Step 3 Use resources

Both no-cost and professional resources can help you get started and overcome obstacles.

Professional Resources

If you face an obstacle that you can’t get around, like finding marriage records from another country, then consult with professional genealogists at FOREVER®. The researchers can also double-check your efforts and what you’ve compiled.

Let’s look at free resources, especially resources that act as hubs and provide links to other pertinent sites.

An international resource

Here’s an international listing spanning a number of different countries via Wikipedia.org: List of historical societies.

National Resources

Check the National Archives Resources for Genealogists where you get a place to start your research.

Canadians can begin with ArchivesCanada.ca, “Your gateway to Canada’s collective memory.”

Screenshot from National Archives
Screenshot of National Archives website

States and counties

Check with local city and county historical societies as resources. If you don’t know the name of a city or county where a relative may have lived, then you can type in the name of your state and the term historical society.

For a good example, check the Minnesota Historical Society and how they list other local societies. You’ll see how they list other historical societies.


Step 4 Combine your media and text using FOREVER®

A reason I use FOREVER® as my platform for preserving all of the memories I want to keep is that it’s comprehensive. I can bring all of my past, present, and future photos, videos, and much more into one place.

Little girl white dress1910
My grandmother, Albine Castagno,4 yeards old in 1910.

And they’re guaranteed to be available for the rest of my lifetime, into the next century and beyond.

That means this photo of my grandmother when she was four years old will be available for my great-great-grandchildren to see.

How did I upload this old print photo?

I had it digitized and now it can be stored for many decades to come.

That’s why FOREVER® is also a great place to use for your family research.

You can also store archives of newspaper clippings and handwritten letters. And it’s easy to write complete descriptions of photos, old home movies, slide shows, and more.

This is why I also have events on my website to guide you in writing your family’s story with your media. It’s a useful virtual workshop that’s fun and you’ll get to meet and learn from new friends.

Check the Events page for event dates and times.


Preserve Your Most Meaningful Memories

Your family’s history is a unique treasure, and you deserve to have it available for many generations to come.

Grandmother, granddaughter and mother
My mother, daughter, and me during a preschool Mother’s Day celebration 2004

Be sure to try FOREVER® yourself with 2 free GB of storage space so you can upload photos, create your own virtual albums, and journal parts of your family’s story . Click here and register for our 3-week sessions, only 15 minutes each, on saving, organizing, and sharing your memories FOREVER®.

I’ve been a photo coach for almost 30 years and FOREVER® is the best tool I’ve found to help you reach your goals.

Contact me and I’ll answer your questions and learn how to best help you.


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