How to organize 1,000 ancestors

Quick math --  Every person has two parents, so the number of ancestors doubles with each generation. That means after only ten generations, we have 1024 direct ancestors. 

I'll never be able to identify all my ancestors, much less learn their stories. That being said, there is just so much information available online - it's hard to know where to start or when to stop. I need to define the scope and goals for my family history project. So here goes!


I'm curating a digital scrapbook - expandable and shareable. 

  • I'm collecting research and images.
  • I'm not writing a book.

I was inspired by one of my favorite books, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Anne says that when writing the big picture is too overwhelming, she sets her mind on creating only what would fit inside a 1-inch frame. I took this idea and tweaked it a bit for scope...

  • Big Picture: Generally speaking, I'd like to know where we come from. There are literally dozens of lines to follow, and I'm sure there will be dead ends and unverified guesses. But I should be able to identify some general themes. 
  • Small Frame: I'd like to pull out specific stories that pop up - pictures, newspaper articles, letters from soldiers, etc - and give them historical context with timelines, pictures, etc. I'd also like to look into the various family stories and questions that have been handed down...