I’ve had maintenance on the mind this summer. So many friends and family are dealing with problems that are largely a result of lack of maintenance. It’s made me think how easy it is to lose all our gains, simply because we don’t do the day-to-day and month-to-month maintenance projects.

  • Why am I doing massive fence repairs in July?
  • How’d we regain all this weight?
  • How did the sewer line break?

It goes on and on. So while I work on projects and have to set aside my family history, I’m assessing what are the maintenance essentials for genealogy in my home.

We made some incredible family history gains last year, digitizing everything (photos, papers, cassette tapes) for my side of the family and we’re close to finishing this for Mike’s side of the family. I can’t afford to lose these gains. Here are some ideas for projects we need to either start, finish, or maintain.



Some Family History Maintenance Ideas

Here’s a bullet list of ideas for projects we can tackle, in small or large bites, to stay on top of our genealogy projects.

Printed (analog) Photos

  • Get them all in one place to see what you have
  • Get them off the floor, out of heat, away from water & other damage
  • Sort these and make plans to start digitizing them: Read my To Do List Before You Scan and Fee or Free Photo Scanning
  • Identify people in photos
  • Prep them to give the original away
  • Prep some to display

Digital Photos

Printed genealogy notes/paperwork

Emails & Text Messages



Price genealogy supplies

  • Spend time online pricing new external hard drives or other digital equipment necessary to preserve your items (it’s not if, but when your hard drive will fail–BackBlaze at RootsTech)
  • Price archival storage boxes/paper for the items you want to keep
  • Make yourself a Holiday or Birthday wishlist you can share when someone asks what gift they might buy you (Amazon.com has Wishlists you can share with family/friends)

Sort your books

Consolidate your family history

  • Try to keep like things in the same place, all your printed photos together, all your family history books together, etc
  • Do a quick run through and label and explain your organization so someone can take over if you die (even if you don’t have time to do the work, organize it and explain what’s been done)

Tell your own story

  • Spend a little time each day writing about a life event
  • Read my blog, Writing Your Personal History with tons of links to sites and tools or How to Stop Making Excuses and Start Writing Your Personal History
  • If possible, find photos to go along with each story
  • Gather old calendars or journals you can use to create a timeline for your life
  • Take photos or scans of your calendars and journals and then consider tossing the originals (genealogists save way too much IMO). If you’re saving it so you can use it someday, make that someday come sooner vs. later.

Visit your genealogy membership sites

Educate yourself


If you’re like me, and summer is your time to maintain, not make headway, then best with your family history maintenance projects! Here’s a pinnable image to save these ideas for future reference! Please follow any of the OnGenealogy Pinterest Boards to get tips from other genealogists.

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