When was the last time you wondered what would happen to your genealogy in the future? I think about this quite regularly. I wonder whether I’ll get all my organizing done before I leave this earth, and I wonder if anyone will be interested in it. More importantly, I don’t want my family to handle it one garbage bag at a time.
As a baby boomer, I realize that my generation, whether they are genealogists or not, has to deal with downsizing and dealing with all the things we might have collected. My mom wasn’t a genealogist, but I actually remember my mom telling me, “I don’t want to leave you a mess of things to deal with like my mother did.” She did her best, but there was still so much more. So is there a perfect solution? Perhaps we can do some research and give it our best effort. Here are some tips.
- Let’s start with the tough part. Talk to your children and any other family members you’d like to include. Is there anyone who wants your genealogy collection? It might be a painful talk, but you need to know this in case they don’t, and then you’ll have the opportunity to make other arrangements.
- Now that you know who, if anyone, wants your genealogy, it’s a good idea to include it in your will.
- If no one in the family wants your genealogy, then you’ll want to consider your local archives or genealogy society, or historical society. Find out if they take private genealogy research and, if so, what kind of documents they take. For example, some societies will only take printed books of personal research.
You might not want to stop at just your genealogy when you have your family together why not ask them about anything else you might have to deal with. I have heard of some people who put the names of the beneficiaries on the bottom of each item and include a list of items in their will.
One of the things I have to deal with is my mom’s huge jewelry collection. She loved her bling, and after my niece looked through the items, I ended up with the rest. Which was still a huge collection. I have two sons, and neither of them is interested, so I’ve decided that I’m going to sell them on eBay and enjoy the cash.
There are many books written about these subjects that you can find on Amazon. Here are a few that I’ve read and can recommend.
- After You’re Gone: Future Proofing Your Genealogy Research – written by Thomas MacEntee
- Planning a Future for Your Family’s Past written by Marian Burk Wood
- What Your Clutter Is Trying to Tell You: Uncover the Message in the Mess and Reclaim Your Life – written by Keri L Richardson as well as her book
- From Clutter to Clarity: Clean Up Your Mindset to Clear Out Your Clutter – Keri L. Richardson (buy the Kindle or Paperback version so you can highlight. I made the mistake of purchasing the audiobook to listen to in the car, and I had to go back and make notes.
- How to Make Money Selling Vintage Items on Etsy: Open a Store, Find Inventory, Take Photos, Create Listings, and Make Money Selling Vintage Items in This Billion Dollar Marketplace – written by Alissa Grosso.
- Eat That Frog! – written by Brian Tracy (This is a great book if you have trouble with procrastination
As I dealt with and deal with my own collection of genealogy, I started creating a step-by-step approach to the organization and called it Saving Your Genealogy FOREVER.FOREVER is the site that I am using, and I love it so much I’m an Ambassador, I like it because I can make my children (or whomever I want) the beneficiary of my collection on FOREVER, and it has become my cloud storage for genealogy. FOREVER has its own app, which makes it easy to access my records whenever I need to. Whether it’s at a cousin’s home or at an archive.
No one wants to think about the end of life, but I also think it’s important to have a plan, and because my genealogy is a lifetime of my work, I don’t want it to be thrown away.
You can do it too. It starts with a talk.
I created my guides called Saving Your Genealogy FOREVER (you can find them on my store, Shop the Hound. There are two steps currently, and a third coming soon.
You will also find my newest product, the Digital Assets Checklist.
If you are interested in FOREVER® permanent cloud storage, I suggest you check the DEALS page at FOREVER. There you will see FOREVER cloud storage as well as FOREVER Boxes where you can have FOREVER digitize your photos, video, audio, and documents (including your genealogy).
Note that FOREVER has over 1000 5-star reviews on Trustpilot.
Hi! Very good post, timely and informative. Also, please may I suggest a look at my book, “Planning a Future for Your Family’s Past,” which offers a process for curating, organizing, and bequeathing genealogy materials…to family members and even to institutions. Would you like a review copy? Please contact me. Thanks.
Marian, I actually have your book as well. I will add it to the list.
I’ve updated the article to include your book.
Very timely article with some good suggestions. Early on I decided to create and research develop two reasonable sized family trees on Ancestry. One my wife’s side and the other mine. I have accumulated around a dozen binders that contain what I call work books. They are of zero interest to any family member unless they are interested in my scribble style of keeping notes.
The trees themselves I presume will endure on Ancestry and could be accessed if a family member up the road would be remotely interested?
Over the years I have put together the more pertinent stories and sent them out to a network of family members! Is my assumption correct?
Allen, Yes, I agree. I believe they will be on Ancestry for as long as Ancestry is around. :0 I like that you are sharing your stories with your family. This is something else that you can do on Ancestry. I’ve created some stories through the new Storymaker Studio.