Researching your genealogy is important. But are you doing all that research for nothing?
What if your family threw away the things connecting them to their family history?
It could happen. Someday, each of us will pass on. We won’t be here to explain our research files. If there IS a relative who wants to preserve the documents and photographs, do your next of kin know who they are and what they should get? Is it spelled out?
Even if the next generation holds onto your research, will they understand your notes and scribbles? Even worse, what if they don’t know where your files are on your computer?
What can you do to ensure your family will be able to preserve their ancestral legacy?
I’m asking myself these questions, too. Luckily, I’ve found some answers. I want to recommend a helpful book by Marian Burk Wood called Planning a Future for Your Family’s Past: How to organize your genealogy materials, make decisions about your collection, and pass what you know to future generations. You can get the print book or eBook here.
Wood’s “P.A.S.S.” method shows you how to take bite-sized actions towards getting your collection of photographs and research organized. Most importantly Planning a Future For Your Family’s Past gives you templates for including genealogy and family history materials in your will.
What I really like about the book is it includes suggestions for approaching family members NOW, so we leave our precious photographs, heirlooms, and historical research to those who WANT to preserve them. The book covers options for donating collections to archives, libraries, or museums and how to do so appropriately.
I see doing genealogy research or creating ancestor story videos or writing a family history as just parts of the big picture of leaving a family legacy. If you don’t set up the mechanism to pass on your physical collection and communicate the value of the collection, your hard work could end up moldering in a basement or worse yet in the landfill.
Sharing is one of the components of the P.A.S.S. method. A great way to share is with short ancestor story videos. Get your first video going with the Video Genealogy Starter Kit. Click here to get your Video Genealogy Starter Kit.
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