Today at lunch with a friend who shares my interest in genealogy, we were talking about how to avoid saving mounds of paper copies of research materials. The first caveat is that valuable original source materials do not fall into this category. Original material should probably go to a museum or genealogy center in the appropriate area. I think this would also apply to material that you may be the only one to have. For example, my friend has translated Polish village records into English. This is technically not original material but could be very helpful to other researchers.
I suggested maintaining online databases and backing up disks. I have also self-published books of information that would only be of interest to my family. This is one way to present information in an appealing format with photos, maps, etc. Personally, I feel less need to keep copies of all the information I have amassed when I know that it is available on the web and I have a handy printed source for myself.
Small books also allow me to focus on one project at a time. I like to do that by writing blog posts. For example, I quickly pulled together the information on my husband’s Florida pioneer ancestors and printed a book for myself using Blog2Print. Now I have an attractive and convenient way to store the information I have gathered over several years, without killing trees.
During the discussion, I mentioned that I have struggled with presenting family trees in the format. When I recommended that my friend take photos of scrapbook pages, I realized I had solved my own problem. I think it would work to print traditional family tree charts, take photos of them and upload the photos to the blog or insert them into a word processing document. This will be my next step!