DOCUMENTING YOUR OWN LIFE
©2023 Donald R. Snow - Page last updated 2023-09-19
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ABSTRACT: Our descendants will be glad that
we took the time to document our own lives with
details, certificates, events, programs, stories,
and our histories. This class will give some
suggestions of how to do this, where to find the
information, and how to save it. Once gathered,
it can be posted on places like Memories on
FamilySearch Family Tree so it will be available
after we are gone. but even without writing a narrative, this collection forms a good history. The same ideas can be used
to document the life of an ancestor. The notes
and other related information, all with active internet
links, is posted on
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION
- Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( email@example.com
) of Provo, Utah.
- The notes with active URLs and
additional information in other notes and articles are posted at
- Tips: (1) To put an icon on your
desktop for these notes, or any webpage, just
drag the icon from in front of the address (above) in
your browser onto your desktop.
(2) To open a link, but keep your place
in these notes, hold down the Control key
while clicking the link.
- Problem for today: How to find, save, and
label documents and events about your own life.
PRELIMINARY COMMENTS AND EXAMPLES
- Labeling the files is important so you can find
them and they sort in order
- Use a system for new items you find and then go back when you have time and relabel the old items.
- The free program EVERYTHING -- https://voidtools.com/ -- allows searches by name or characters for all files
from all folders on your computer and in
- Keywords help (tag words), e.g. BIRTH,
MARRIAGE, SCHOOL, LDS, EDUCATION,
WORK, MILITARY, FAMILY, PEDIGREE, CHILDREN, RESIDENCE, BIOGRAPHY, etc.
- Examples from my database using EVERYTHING.
TYPES OF DOCUMENTS
- Birth an/adoption - certificates,
indices; some birth certificates
are online now
- Marriage - certificates; legal
document is the
marriage license that you get from the marriage county with witness and official's
signatures; some are online
- Death - you don't have one yet, but
some of your ancestors do; some
certificates are online now, e.g.
Certificates up to middle 1900s are on HeritageQuest Online
- Newspaper accounts of births, marriages, and deaths
- these are public records, unlike most current
vital records -- many helpful websites; for Utah
see Utah Digital Newspapers--https://digitalnewspapers.org/
TYPES OF EVENTS AND STORIES
- Programs from school, church, sports, etc.
- Newspaper articles - many are online and
searchable - search by name, event, date, or place
- City directories - these are like phone books but before telephones;
many are online and searchable - see FamilySearch Digital Library and Internet Archive Texts
- Yearbooks - high school, college,
military, church, trade - see FamilySearch Digital Library, Internet Archive Texts, and MyHeritage.
- Portraits, photos, illustrations,
etc. - labeling is important so you
can see what is in the photo, when, and where
- Artifacts - photograph them for sharing, e.g. awards, badges,
military insignia, etc
- Many links for these can be found on other notes on my website - can search by Google (see top of my webpage)
SUGGESTIONS FOR CREATING FILE NAMES
- Use a system so you can find what you are looking for
- Include person's name at beginning with surname first, then maiden name followed by (birth and death years).
- Then date of event or document, keywords, where event occurred, where the document
came from, the date you found
- For extension put file type, e.g. .doc, .txt, .pdf, .jpg, .tif, .html, etc.
- Write dates in International Date Format YYYY-MM-DD so they sort chronologically.
- Example: "ManwaringDiane(Snow)-(1934-2012)-1934-07-30-BIRTH-CERTIFICTE-VITALRECRORD-UTAH-SaltLakeCity-19xx-xx-xx.pdf"
- Example: "PHOTO-2023-09-04-JAMESTOWN-PROVO-UTAH-GillFamily.jpg"
- This system gives a good history of your life, but can also be used to select parts to write a narrative story.
- Be sure to include where and when you got the document, since things change on the Internet.
- This system puts things where they belong without you having to insert them or rewrite things.
- You can upload any or all of these items to Memories in FamilySearch so others will have access to them.
- Our descendants will be glad we took the time to document our own lives,
just as you are when you find an ancestor's information.
- Documenting your complete life is a mammoth project, so start small and develop a system
for new information you find and go back
a little at a time to update information you already
have in your files.
- Remember: "Small deeds done are better than
big deeds planned."
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