Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Should I add images to my FTM and Ancestry databases?

I'm a bit old fashioned sometimes in that I don't take advantage of the latest technological innovations immediately. I still don't have a cell phone, don't have a digital videocam, don't upload videos to my computer, etc.

I don't have any images in my genealogy databases. No family photos, no census images, no passenger list images, no vital records certificates, no Bible page images, etc. I do have lots of those items, but I haven't uploaded any of them into my databases currently in FamilyTreeMaker or into my Member Trees on Ancestry.

Why? Because my "Master" genealogy database is already up to about 20 megabytes. If I added, say 100 images, to that database it might grow to be 80 megabytes.

If I want to use something like FTM or AncestryPress to make a book, I would want to add images. Since I have images for the last 4 or 5 generations, perhaps I should make a smaller database with only 5 generations (perhaps 1,000 people at most) and upload images for those people.

In the past, I have made genealogy reports in word processing format and added photos and images to that word processing file, then saved them as a PDF or other document, printed them out, put them on CDs, etc. This has worked pretty well for me.

How have other researchers handled this problem? What are the benefits of adding photos and images to your genealogy databases in your computer and online? What are the drawbacks? What is the most effective way to share photos and document images with your family members? I would appreciate comments to this post, or a blog post in response, to help me deal with this issue. Are there articles or blog posts available on the Internet that discuss this issue?


Becky Wiseman said...

Randy, I don't use Family Tree Maker so I don't know if it actually stores the photos in the FTM database or not. Legacy stores a link to the image file instead so when you backup the file you also have to backup the images folder. I haven't "attached" any pictures to people in my database as I haven't really had the need (or the time) to do so. I have the pictures in folders so I know where they are and can burn CDs as needed, either for entire families or specific individuals.

I've put together a few family history books but did them in Word, putting the pictures where I want them and printing the book as needed. It may not be the "best" or most efficient way to handle the process, but so far it has worked okay for me. I'd be interested in hearing how others deal with this issue as well.

Charles said...

Randy I don't use Family Tree Maker either, but years ago I had a wonderful DOS program called Family Tree Journal and it did a great job of printing a book or booklets. It also allowed me to put pictures where ever I wanted and to size them as I wanted. so when it printed out the book if I had a high school graduation picture I could put it next to the information about the high school, or marriage picture next to the marriage information.I could make close ups small and group pictures large so you could see eveyone. Unfortunately it never upgraded to Windows. I hope to find a program someday that works like Family Tree Journal did.
When I added pictures I got a lot of the family to help, they sent me more pictures and stories of the family to go with the pictures.

GrannyPam said...

I don't use Family Tree maker, either. But Roots Magic stores a link to the photograph or file which is attached. This does require that you consider the location of the files you attach, and be consistent about their locations. Short course, if you move the files, the link will be invalid.

Are you sure that your program adds the actual photographs to the database?

don said...

Hi Randy-
I do use FTM and have included lots of photos and scanned documents in my data. While my database is not anywhere near as big as yours (only about 240 people) even with photos and documents scanned into the data, it is only 433 KB. I am not sure quite how this works, but it does not seem to add significantly to the file size. I suspect the scanned material is highly compressed. With hard drives as inexpensive as they are these days, a USB external drive would hold lots of genealogy data for a very reasonable cost.