Miryelle Resek | May 11, 2018

A Guide to Using Google Photos for Genealogy

As genealogists, many of us have been dubbed the family historian—meaning that we’ve been tasked with caring for family photos from the past, but also with the history that is happening today. So where do we store all of those pictures?

Devin Ashby in his 2017 RootsTech presentation explains why using Google Photos could be the solution we’ve been looking for. He says, “[Google] lets you create shared albums, collages, animations, movies, stories, and much more. It’s totally free and unlike any other photo app out there.”

So how do you use it?

After you’ve synced the devices you use to take photos to your Google account, Google photos offers several different options.

How to Access Google Photos

If you’re logged into your account on Chrome, you can access Google Photos on your desktop computer by clicking open a new tab and clicking on the squares on the right-hand side, then finding the pinwheel image and clicking on it.


This will take you to the collection of photos you’ve taken and sort it by from the most recent, to the oldest photos.

How to Organize Your Photos into Albums in Google Photos

From here you can begin selecting the photos you want, and organizing them into different albums by selecting the top left-hand corner of each photo and clicking on it so a blue check mark appears.



The blue plus sign at the top right hand corner provides several options for organizing the photos.




Selecting Album, you’ll have the option of adding the photos to an existing album, or creating a new one based on how you would like to organize those photos.



When you’ve created a New album, title your album so you know what the album is about.


You can continue adding photos by clicking on the landscape image on the top right corner.

How to Add a Description and Image Details in Google Photos

You can also add a description by clicking on the Tt image.


Adding a description will give your album more context of what the photos are about, or neat facts you remember.


You’ll also have the option of adding more photos, a location, and how you want the photos sorted.



Once you’re done with your album, click on the blue check mark on the top left-hand corner to complete your album.


How to Share Your Album in Google Photos

From here you can share your album by clicking on Share on the top right-hand corner.


This option will allow you to share the album with your friends or family members by either emailing them or adding it to your social media accounts.

How to Create Collages and Animations in Google Photos

Ashby points out two more things that you can do with Google photos to add a little fun when you’re working with photos:

  • You can create a collage out of the photos

  • You can animate the photos

Like you did to create an album, for each you’ll select a few photos and then click on the plus sign on the top right corner.

Once you’ve finished either your collage or your animation, you can add it to your album by clicking on the three vertical circles on the right-hand side and clicking on Add to album.


How do you like using Google Photos to keep track of your family’s history? Tweet @RootsTechConf with your ideas!

Miryelle Resek

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