Just in time for spring cleaning, Ancestry® has teamed up with the co-founders of The Home Edit, Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, to share advice on how to use Ancestry to help organize your family treasures—so you can not only add beauty to your home but honor and share your loved ones’ memories with more family near and far.
Here are Clea and Joanna’s top 5 tips for preserving and sharing family photos, documents, and other heirlooms.
- Edit Your Items: Start with those dusty boxes in the basement or in the back of the closet -- go through all of your sentimental items and create categories. This includes photo albums, tangible keepsakes, clothing, documents, etc.
- From Out-of-Sight to Digitally Thriving: It's really easy to lose or damage priceless family documents and keepsakes. By preserving them digitally, you can *always* go back and print a hard copy, but not the other way around. This is especially important for one-of-a-kind items, such as pages from a journal, handwritten letters, and family heirlooms. These can provide the richest insights into someone’s life. They’re the key to preserving an ancestor's personal stories, their personality, and what their life was like at that time. And imagine how many others could benefit if you share images of these things with family across the world just by uploading and attaching them to a public family tree on Ancestry.
- Get Specific: Every photo tells a story, so as you’re uploading them to your family tree to make them discoverable for more family, try to provide as much detail as possible. You'll want to include the year, names, location, etc. Start with what you know and if you need help, ask other family members to help you fill in the gaps.
- Store vs. Display: Once you sift through everything and find the most important keepsakes, we love displaying them in a shadow box or frame -- it can add a personal touch to any space!
- Create a System: To create a physical archive in your home, we recommend using archival photo boxes to keep the items protected for generations to come. You can either store in broad categories, such as year or family member, or subcategorize by occasion. The system you create depends on how you will access these items in the future.
Give More Meaning to Spring Cleaning This Year
“If there is ever a year to take an active role in preserving your family history, this is it,” said The Home Edit duo.
Clea Shearer says, “Spring cleaning is traditionally thought to be a time of decluttering and clearing, but there is also an opportunity to bring rich new meaning and thoughtfulness to the age-old tradition. I’ve been an Ancestry member for years and was delighted to uncover a photo of my great-great-grandparents and their four kids. Putting faces to my family members’ names for the first time took my breath away, and it was all thanks to a distant cousin who decided to upload the photo to their family tree. It really showed me the power preserving these items has in sparking meaningful connections with more family and a new understanding of those who came before us.”
What family treasures will you rediscover, preserve and share? If you’re not yet a member of Ancestry, the first step is to create an account on Ancestry.com and start building your family tree.
Then head over to our blog post on a full “how-to” guide on how to upload, start a family tree and attach these family memories, and share them with more family: ancestry.com/corporate/blog/bring-more-meaning-spring-cleaning-how-preserve-family-records-and-photos-heirlooms-and-more