So you’ve seen how awesome it is to upload old family stuff to Archive.org and you want to do the same thing? You’re in luck, it’s really easier than it sounds.  In three easy steps, you’ll have your family history, scrapbook, memories, interviews, or great-great-aunt Melba Johnson’s famous recipe book online and available to cousins and relatives the world over.  Let’s get started:

1. Make or Choose your Document. First make sure the document you’re uploading isn’t already online, if it is, there’s no reason to upload another copy. Next, if you know how to a PDF out of the file you have, that’s the best way to do it, but it will work just fine if all you have is a Microsoft Word document.  Just make a Word Document with your history or special photos displayed in a way that looks good to you.  Make sure it doesn’t contain any information on living people that they would not want you to share. Include important information at the beginning such as the source of the material, the author, your information, a title, etc. (Archive.org will take a variety of file formats, including .txt, .doc, .docx, .pdf, .mp3, .wav, .mpg2 and many more, so you could upload audio interviews, video interviews, plain text, and much more, but we’re keeping it simple by just talking about documents in this post).

2. Register with Archive.org.  Go to https://archive.org/account/login.createaccount.php to create an account.  It’s easy, you just need an email address, pick a username and password, and you’re done.  They’ll send a verification to your email, you click on it, and then go back to the site and login.

3. Upload your Document. Click on the “upload” button in the upper right hand corner and it will take you to an intermediate page.  You’ll then click “share” in the upper right hand corner of that page.  Clicking on “share” will open a box that allows you to browse your computer for the file you want to upload.  Pick the document, and upload it.

click this…

…then this

Then they will ask you for a variety of information that will help you to identify the document.  Fill out the title, description, keywords, author, and then pick from a few of the copyright license options (it really doesn’t matter what you pick here, I’m not too concerned about someone making copies of my family biographies.  The reason you’re uploading it is to share it, right? If you are concerned about what people do with the information, read the copyright options carefully and choose the best one that suits your situation) :

Click “Share my file,” wait a couple minutes, and the file will automatically be scanned, converted into a variety of formats, and given its own home page.  After a few days the data should show up on search engines across the world. Then anyone searching Google for your great-great-aunt “Melba Madeline Johnson” will find your book about her life, including her famous spice cake recipe, or whatever you chose to upload.  It’s really as simple as that, and it’s so incredibly helpful to the whole genealogical community at large that it really is worth your time.

So go dig through your family history files, find something special to upload, and put it on the web today.  You may not directly see the blessings you will be bringing to countless others, but you’ll know you did the right thing by putting it out there for everyone to see. Then, go google your own ancestors and see what others might have shared that you’ve never known existed!

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