I’ve been watching the recorded sessions from our 45th Family History Workshop and enjoyed the tips that Rick Crume, in his presentation “How to Organize Your Digital Files,” gave on labeling and identifying our digital records, photos and documents within our own files as well as when we share those online trees. By labeling items clearly and consistently this helps relatives and future researching understand what the record or photo is and why it is relevant. All of this made me think more about how to preserve the genealogy research that we have done when we are gone. While it is a slightly morbid thought, we all want to make sure that our meticulous work isn’t thrown out with the trash! Let’s look at ideas for preserving our genealogy research.
If you have been writing your family history and have published a book. Hurray! That is one way to ensure that our families have received the harvest of our research. When we share with others, that information won’t be lost to the ages.
If you’re wondering about what to do with all those papers, books, and records that you’ve accumulated, including in the digital world, here are a few examples of addendums or additions that I found on Cyndi's List. You can add to your will or give the document to your family so that they understand what to do.
Depending on where you are in life and research, there are things that you can do now. You can choose to donate items and resources that you no longer need but want to go to a “good home.” If you’re incredibly lucky, you may have a descendent who shares your passion for family history.
Here are a few more sites/books with ideas for organizing and protecting your family research for the future.
As part of our plan to make sure that our family history research work is preserved for future generations, we also need to make sure we organize what we do have so that it isn’t a chore for the next generation to treasure. This is an ongoing process and the longer you have researched, the more information you acquire that needs to be wrangled, digitized, sourced, and labeled. That is ok. The key is to start the process I hope I’ve given you some things to consider. Take time to determine the best way to share and preserve your family history. Remember to choose a method that works for you and that you’re able to keep up with as you move forward. Happy organizing and planning!
PS If you weren’t able to attend the virtual Family History Workshop on September 18th, you can still sign up and watch the recorded presentations. The recordings will be available until October 30th.
With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.