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Since photographs in their many forms weren't available until the mid-nineteenth century, researchers are out of luck with regards to photos of earlier ancestors unless that person was the subject of a portrait, sketch, or miniature. But what might remain are any number of items connected with the individual: a wedding quilt, ancestral home, marriage certificate, headstone, signature, etc. All of these things can be photographed, digitized, and included in your database. Such graphical images enhance what might be an otherwise dry history. And, it should be noted that although digital cameras are a fast and easy tool to create digitized photos, a regular camera works just as well in conjunction with a scanner.

One genealogist friend of mine, Marge Reid, took her digital camera with her on a recent research trip to Massachusetts and Prince Edward Island. She took photos galore of cemeteries, family members, local spots of interest, etc., and promptly transferred them to her laptop, thus clearing the camera's memory so she could take more photos. Marge periodically posted online excerpts from the journal she kept of the trip, complete with photos, for her friends and family (if you ask her politely, she may let you see the picture of her and Arlo Guthrie), and will later incorporate the pictures into her research projects, both online and off-line.

Many genealogy database programs allow you to incorporate photos into the database, either in scrapbook format (where you create an electronic scrapbook complete with sounds, music, photo titles and notations, etc.), or as photos connected to a specific individual, ready to be printed on forms and charts. Some programs will allow you to create family history books with the photos as well. And most popular programs today will create web pages based on the genealogy data and photos you've included in your database. For example, Family Tree Maker users can create Web sites at FamilyTreeMaker.com. Check the manual of your favorite database program to see if it also offers this feature.

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