Project 3 Goals:   1: Gather Your Records   2: Gather Records from Others   3: Interview Relatives   4: Create and Edit Stories   5: Prepare Uploads   6: Upload Photos   7: Manage Gallery Items        SEARCH

Project 3: Documents, Stories, and Photos

Add documents, stories, and photos for people in your tree.

  Tracker:   Online  or  Word  


Goal 1: Gather and safeguard important records. Vault

Preserving your own personal records gets you off to a good start and helps you protect your valuable information.


A Gather important records.

  1. Locate and safely store your birth certificate, religious records, marriage certificate, legal documents, etc.
  2. If you are missing any important records, arrange to get replacements of them.
  3. Look at home to see what kinds of family history records are already available.
    FS—Looking at Home—25:00
  4. Record what you know from records and sources easily available.
    FS—BYU: Creating a Family Archive (19:00)
    | FS—FS: Record What You Know (3:36)
  5. Watch the video segment (1:25-3:30) for ideas on gathering records.
    BYU—How to Get Started—26:37
  6. Learn how to find the treasures in family records that are in your possession.
    BYU—Inherited Records? Now What? —43:08
  7. Learn more about family records and how you can use them. Examples include journals, diaries, letters, photographs, and family bibles.
    BYU—Family Records—24:23

    FS—U.S. Bible Records

Instructor Tips

B Make scans or paper copies of each document to serve as backups.

  1. If you don't have access to a scanner, visit a library or family history center to use one, or use a digital camera to make digital copies. For tips on scanning, see Goal 5.
  2. Back up digital copies to external devices (thumb drive, etc.) or to the Internet.
  3. Read these tips on backing up your smartphone photos.
    AC—Backing Up Smartphone Photos

C Protect and preserve your original documents and backups.

  1. Store original documents and backups in separate, secure locations.
  2. Choose a safe, dry place for physical copies.
  3. Explore the CollectionCareTips site for ideas on preserving important photos and documents.
  4. Learn about digital preservation of your family history records.
    Preserving Your Family History Records Digitally
  5. For more ideas on preserving documents and photos, read these articles.
    Preserving Your Photographs
    | GC—Protecting Family Memories from Time
  6. Learn about backing up your files on genealogy websites.
    Why You Should Download Your Files From Ancestry and Every Other Website

D (Optional) Restore damaged photographs when possible.

  1. Learn about restoring photographs in this article.
    GC—Restoring Damaged Photographs
  2. Here are some tips on making bad family photos better.
    AC—5 Easy Ways to Fix Bad Family Photos
  3. Get help restoring or dating your photographs from members of the RootsChat forum.

Goal 2: Gather photos and documents of ancestors from others, and organize them.

This helps you learn about your ancestors' lives in a personal way.


A Contact living relatives or others who might have photos or documents for you to add.

In some cases, these people may have already added photos and documents to Memories.

  1. Watch the video from 2:30-3:30 for tips on getting started.
    BYU—How to Get Started—Introduction (2:30-3:30)
  2. Click each interesting photo or document in Memories, and then click the Contributed by link. That will show the email address of the contributor (if available).
  3. Compile a contact list from contributors discovered in the previous step.
  4. Read the article for ideas on reaching out to others for photos and documents, and then make the contacts.
    LDS—Net Results
  5. Offer to send physical copies of photos or documents to relatives if they would like them.

Instructor Tips

B Add any physical photos and documents from others to your collection, and catalog them.

  1. Organize photos and documents you receive into your collection. Store physical copies in a safe place, and store digital files on your computer and in a backup location.
  2. In a separate document, add descriptions for each item (catalog them).
  3. Make notes of missing information and questions you have about any items.
  4. Here are some additional ideas on gathering memories.
    FS—Family Records—24:23

    LDS—Almost Buried Treasure
  5. Learn about other sources for finding family photographs.
    Unusual Sources for Finding Old Family Photos
  6. Learn how to add labels to your photographs.
    AC—4 Easy Ways to Label Family Photos
  7. Learn about creating and editing digital photos.
    AB—Creating and Editing Digital Photos
  8. 2017-10-06

Goal 3: Interview living relatives about their memories and life stories. Vault

Capturing family history recollections from living relatives ensures that their legacy can be shared before they pass on.


A Prepare for successful interviews.

  1. Make a list of living people whose stories need to be captured. These people may also be good sources for photos and documents.
  2. Prepare a list of questions in advance that will help each guest express family history experiences.
    Oral History Interviews, Topics, and Questions
    | Step-by-Step Guide to Oral History
  3. Here are 50 questions to ask your relatives in a family history interview.
    AB—50 Interview Questions to Ask
  4. 2017-10-06
  5. Ensure the questions are respectful and handle any delicate situations carefully.
    BYU—How to Introduction—5:05-6:40
  6. For tips on successfully capturing stories, read these articles.
    FS—Capture Grandma's Story | LDS—That Happened to You?"

Instructor Tips

B Hold and record the interview.

  1. Use tips from these videos to help you conduct interviews with relatives.
    AC—Interviewing Family Members—28:13
    | AC—I Want to Interview a Living Relative—3:00
  2. Learn about reaching out to family members for genealogy information.
    FS—Learn from Family Members—4:14
  3. Learn about the two sides of interviewing, including steps to follow before, during, and after the interview.
    FS: The 2 Sides of Interviewing
  4. 2017-12-28

C Create life stories for ancestors.

  1. When possible, add interesting historical details to flesh out an ancestor's life story. LDS—Preserving Family Stories
  2. Watch this BYU Webinar for ideas on creating stories about your ancestors.
    BYU—How to Write a Compelling Story about Your Ancestor—29:40
  3. Learn how to use index cards to plot a family history story.
    How to Use Index Cards to Plot a Family History Story
  4. If appropriate, collaborate with a family member or relative who can help with the details or the writing of the story.
  5. For more ideas on how to write effective family histories and stories, visit the Family History Writing Studio site.

Goal 4: Create and edit stories in your Ancestry tree.

Note : The Search, Tools, Edit, Tree Name, and Find menus are explained in Project 2: Family Tree.


A View, edit, and print a life story.

  1. In the Profile page for a person, click the LifeStory tab. A brief life story for the person is shown at the top of the page.
  2. To edit the life story, a) Click Edit; b) Change or add text as needed; and c) Click Save. For more info, watch this video.
    AC—How Can I Edit My Ancestor's Life Story?—1:02
  3. Scroll down to see the life story events for the person. These are similar to what you see in the Facts but with more of a narrative approach.
  4. To choose to view Family Events or Historical Insights, choose the view in the drop-down menu (upper right). To learn more about historical insights, watch this video.
    AC—What Is a Historical Insight?—1:10
  5. In the family links section (just below the biography statement at the top) you can click any person's link (including those displayed with the Children link) to show the lifestory for that person. You can also click any of the person links farther down the page to see those lifestories.
  6. In the map section (just below the family links), click Explore the Map. You can do the following things in the map view:
    • Click on the map to drag the view.
    • Click the plus or minus icons to zoom in or out.
    • Click the white icon (star) to see birth information for the person.
    • Click the red icon (heart) to see marriage information for the person.
    • Click the black icon (tombstone) to see death information for the person.
    • Click the brown icon to see burial information.
    • Note: If a number is displayed instead of an icon, click the number to show the separate icons for the location.
    • To see a list of the events, click the Events box (upper right). In the list, you can click an event to zoom in to the location of the event.
  7. To print the life story, click the Tools icon and select Print. If you want to customize the information to be printed, a) Click Customize; b) Select any of these: Mini Tree, Map, Family Events, Historical Insights; and c) Click Print.
    For more info, watch the video or read the article.
    AC—Printing Out Your LifeStory Page—0:16


B Upload stories for persons in your tree.

  1. In a person's Profile, click the Gallery tab.
  2. Find a story document to upload for the person (PDF or text document).
  3. Click the Upload Media rectangle
  4. Drag the story file to the media rectangle. Or, you can a) Click Choose Files (or click the upload area on the screen); and b) Navigate to the file to upload and double-click it.
  5. You can edit any of these fields to add information for the story:
    • Title
    • Date (DD MM YYYY)
    • Place
    • Description
  6. If you need to link the story to a different person, click the "Linked to (name)" button and select "Unlink from this story".
  7. If you want to delete the story, click the small tool icon and select "Delete from tree".
  8. When you are finished, click Done.
  9. For more info on adding stories, read this article.
    AC—Adding Stories to a Tree
  10. Note: When you delete a person with ancestors, those ancestors will not appear in the tree, although they still exist in the tree. To learn how to reconnect missing ancestors, read this article.
    AC—Restoring People Missing from a Tree

C Create stories for people in your tree.

  1. Open the Profile for the person who will have the story added.
  2. Click Add and select Create Story.
  3. In step 1, select "I want to write a story". (If you choose "Upload a story" it's the same process described in Choice B above.)
  4. Type a title for the story.
  5. Type or paste the story content into the word processing window.
  6. Optional: Type a description, location, and date for the story.
  7. After you have read the Content Submission Agreement, click the "I accept" box. Note : You may not post or display photos of living individuals, beyond your immediate family, without their permission.
  8. To link the story to another person in the tree, a) Click "Add another person"; b) Type the name of the person; and c) Select the name from the drop-down list. To unlink the story from a person, click the red X next to the person's name.
  9. Click Save Story. The story file now appears in the Gallery tab for the person.
  10. To print the story, click the print icon (near the top) and complete the print dialog.
  11. If you want to delete the story, click the trash icon (on the story tile) and select "Delete from Tree". To keep the story but remove it in the Gallery, select "Remove from Gallery" instead.

D Edit stories in your tree.

  1. In a person's profile, click the Gallery tab.
  2. Click a story in the Gallery. For text files, you can edit the descriptions and the text; for PDF files, you can edit only the descriptions.
  3. Click Edit (upper right).
  4. Edit the story content or descriptions (see Choice D above for steps).
  5. To link or unlink the story to another person, see Choice C above.
  6. Click Update Story.
  7. Optional: In the Comments box, type comments for the story and click Submit.
  8. To unlink the story from all persons in the tree but not delete the story, click the Tools icon and select "Delete from Tree".

E Manage media items for a person.

  1. In a person's profile, open the Gallery tab.
  2. Click Show to select filters for the type(s) of media to display. You can select one or more of the following types:
    • All (display all types of media)
    • Photos
    • Records
    • Stories
    • Audio (for premium subscriptions)
    • Video (for premium subscriptions)
  3. Click Sort to sort the media items in one of these ways:
    • Media Type
    • Date Added (Newest)
    • Date Added (Oldest)
    • Title A-Z
    • Title Z-A

Goal 5: Prepare photos and documents to be uploaded. Vault

Getting the right photos that are in the right format will save you time and get better results.



A Scan any physical photos or documents that you want to upload, or take photos of documents with a digital device.

  1. Add descriptions for each item.(Scanning is preferable for quality; if you don't have a scanner or need help, you can visit a family history center for assistance.)
  2. Learn about creating and editing digital photos.
    AB—Creating and Editing Digital Photos
  3. 2017-10-06
  4. Learn the basics of scanning for genealogists.
    BYU—Scanning Basics—63:00
  5. Improve your digital photography skills.
    BYU—Digital Photography for Genealogists—57:39
    | Digital Photography for Genealogists—32:06

B (Optional) If necessary, crop or enhance photos or documents after scanning them.

  1. Use FreeOnlinePhotoEditor to enhance digital pictures in your browser.
  2. Try other resources for photo editing.

Goal 6: Upload photos to your tree.


A Upload photos.

  1. In a person's Profile, click the Gallery tab.
  2. Click the Upload Media rectangle. The upload window appears.
  3. Find a photo and drag it into the upload window. Or, you can a) Click Choose Files or click the upload area; and b) Navigate to the file to upload and double-click it.
  4. Change the photo title if needed (the default is the file name).
  5. Select the type of media for the photo from the Details drop-down list.
  6. Optional: Supply a date, place, and description for the photo.
  7. To add or change a person linked to the photo, follow the corresponding steps in Goal 3, Choice C. For more info on associating photos with people in your tree, watch this video.
    AC—How Do I Associate an Image to Someone Else?—0:32
  8. Click Done.
  9. For more info on uploading photos, watch this video.
    AC—How to Upload a Photo—1:18
  10. To attach photos from public trees, read this article.
    AC—Attaching Photos from Public Trees


B View photos and edit photo information.

  1. In a person's Profile, click the Gallery tab and click a photo thumbnail to see the full-size version of the photo. Information about the photo is displayed in the panel on the right.
  2. To add comments for the photo, a) Click Comments; b) Type the comments (1,200 characters maximum); and c) Click Submit.
  3. To link the photo to a different person, see the steps in Goal 3, Choice C above.
  4. If you want to hide the right panel to allow for more room to view photos, click the right arrow in the toolbar (upper right).
  5. To zoom the photo, click the magnifying glass icon (upper right).
  6. To print the photo, click the print icon (upper right) and follow the print dialog prompts.
  7. To copy the photo to your computer, click the Tools icon and select Download to Desktop.
  8. To delete the photo, a) Click the Tools icon; b) Select Delete from Tree; and c) Click Delete.
  9. To scroll ahead or back to other media items, click the right or left arrows (edge of the screen).

Goal 7: Manage Media Gallery items your tree.


A Use the "All Media" tab.

  1. Click the name of your tree (upper left) and select Media Gallery. All media items are displayed, arranged from newest addition to oldest addition. The default tab is All Media.
  2. Hover over an item to see the date of addition to the Gallery.

  3. To add an item to the Gallery, click Add Media (upper right) and select "upload media from computer" or "type story".Note : Although there are Audio and Video tabs, audio and video files cannot be added in Ancestry at this time.
  4. To see all photos in the Media Gallery, click the Photos tab.
  5. Hover over an item to see the date of addition to the Gallery.
  6. To add an item to the Gallery, click All Media (upper right) and select "upload media from computer" or "type story".
  7. Click another tab—Photos, Stories, Audio, or Video—to see items by media type.

B View and edit information for Media Gallery items.

  1. In the Media Gallery, click the thumbnail of the item you want.
  2. Hover over an item to see the date of addition to the Gallery.
  3. Click an item in the Gallery to see more details.
  4. To view other items in the Media Gallery, click the icon in the Browse Gallery section.
  5. If the item is a photo, you can click View Original to view the item at full size.
  6. To edit information for the item, click Edit and then fill in the information fields. When you are done, click the Update button.
  7. You can also click Print or Delete to print or delete the item.
  8. To attach the item to a different person, in this or another tree, follow the steps in Goal 3, Choice B above.