Wouldn’t it be great if you could document your family’s history? Arkiver is the perfect place to preserve and share precious memories of your loved ones and ancestors for all of your family to enjoy and pass on through the generations. Here’s 7 steps for getting get started…

1) Define Scope

The scope of what you want to put together dictates the work involved. Creating a series of collections is a great way to break the work up into more bite-sized chunks. For example, instead of doing a whole family history, perhaps just start with one individual or generation.

2) Gather Everything in One Place

Pictures will undoubtedly be the heart of your memories but also collect other items that will help tell your family’s story such as letters, postcards and memorabilia. Gather together everything you think helps describe the significant events and narrative of your family’s life: pictures of yourself and your children, old items from your childhood, your parents’ wedding pictures, travel journals etc. This will require you to dig up stuff from old photo albums, attics and relatives. Keep in mind that your purpose is to not just collect pictures of people but to gather anything that may add historical interest to your family’s story.

3) Organize

It’s important to plan the layout of your your memories ahead of time. How do you want your family memories to be arranged? In chronological order, thematic or organized by person? Put your stuff in piles and mark things with post-its.  The good news with Arkiver is that there is no end to the memories you can catalogue and the ways you can organize them using collections and tags. You can also combine selected moments into new collections later using the Bulk Edit feature. One principle to keep in mind is to keep your system as simple as possible.

4) Digitize

Once you have all your pictures and documents ready, start scanning. Transfer all your scanned pictures to your computer and organize them into some basic collections.

5) Upload and Curate

Upload photos, videos, audio and documents to Arkiver using the Arkiver web app (www.arkiver.com).  Upload in chunks corresponding with the folders you formed on your computer.  You can then go through each moment and add descriptions, locations, people and other tags. This context will help you find things later on.  You can also easily add moments to other collections. Say a you want a picture of your grandfather in a “Grandpa Joe” collection and “Robinson Family” collection, just tag the picture with those collections.

6) Write or Record Memories

Here’s the fun part. Recollect your precious memories associated with each picture or document. Don’t try to do it all at once. Limit the scope of each note you create so together they form the narrative of your family’s story. For example, instead of a note “Grandma’s Life” write separate ones on “Grandma’s Cooking”, “Grandma’s House” etc. Include important dates and names from your genealogy research or from facts and figures collected by relatives. Be careful though not to get too carried away with details as, although important, they can really make a story boring to read.  Better to focus on capturing and conveying the emotions involved with the stories themselves. Sometimes it’s better to capture stories in audio (which you can now do with Arkiver) and transcribe them later as people often tell stories more naturally and include more color when talking rather than writing.

7) Share and Print

Share the work you have done with family members and encourage them to comment and share their own photos and memories too. Arkiver now also includes photo book printing so you can compile and order your books directly from within the app. Although you can’t add text pages in the current version, you can include images of letters and documents so it’s great if you want to spend less time on layout.  Stay tuned for a more customizable photo book tool we will be releasing later this year.

Life passes by so quick, capturing your family’s stories with Arkiver is the perfect way to preserve your family’s history and genealogy.

Logan Metcalfe
Logan is the founder and CEO of Arkiver, a company dedicated to saving life stories. He lives in Greenville, SC with his wondeful wife and two children who inspired him to create Arkiver to preserve their family photos, videos and other memories and share them privately with his family back in New Zealand.