Genealogists aren’t just interested in the past. We want to save our genealogy. Most of us care about preserving our legacy for the future, whether or not another generation is ready to continue our family history research.
We may have an estate plan that includes our genealogy work. We may plan to donate family heirlooms and documents to a local archive or upload digital images to an online site for access by future researchers. But, whatever we would like to be the future for our genealogy can’t happen when our research notes, digital files, heirlooms, and photos are scattered throughout our homes and computer storage devices.
Family History Everywhere
Stop and look around your home. Is heirloom furniture part of daily life? Is genealogy research everywhere? Are family photos and papers stashed in various unused closets or cupboards?
It’s a good thing to share family photos and heirlooms in our homes. It’s not so good when treasures become over-familiar and we forget the story.
Research is hard to find when it’s scattered between filing cabinets, bookcases, closets, old and new computers and hard drives, and on various cloud services.
Daily life is complicated and messy. Stuff gets lost. Don’t let your genealogy get lost too.
ONE Place to Save Genealogy
No one really wants to live in a Dewey-Decimal ordered archive, but it’s a good idea to maintain enough order that someone else can locate and understand your collected family treasures and your hard-earned genealogy research results.
Think of your house as an inherited family archive and do ONE thing that will help save your genealogy legacy. Gather together your genealogy in ONE place within your home, as much as possible.
- Write the history of your heirloom for an heirloom notebook with photos and provenance for special artifacts. Keep that notebook with your other genealogy papers.
- Organize family recipes in a single album or firebox. Store the book in the kitchen or with your genealogy.
- Consolidate digital files in easy access up-to-date storage devices. Dispose of old media.
- Collect family research binders or folders on a shelf or file cabinet.
- Arrange photo albums on one or two shelves.
- Gather together loose photos, old negatives, and film scattered in boxes, drawers throughout the house. Store them in one place where items are easy to find.
And, when you’ve collected every family history document, photo, and artifact walk around your home and list what you have saved, and where it is located. Keep your ancestors together so they don’t get lost!
Be a Genealogy Gatherer
All this hunting and gathering around your home doesn’t cost anything except your time. Don’t worry now about moving genealogy keepsakes and research to preservation quality acid-free boxes. Save that task for later. Instead, focus on collecting things in one place.
Consolidating your genealogy may sound like an impossible task if you’ve been researching your family for decades. Your research notes may have spread out over the years. But, you may also rediscover missing papers and lost artifacts in your quest to round-up wayward genealogy work.
Sometimes family archivists focus on sorting, organizing, and digitizing individual boxes of old documents or photographs and lose sight of the big picture. Maintain order with the entire archive, not just a few boxes. Do this ONE thing to save your genealogy. Future genealogists will thank you.
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