CeCe Warren, a devoted Genea-Musings reader, writes:
"I am wondering what will happen to all your years of hard work and all the paperwork with it that you have amassed? At my age, it has been a great concern to me. I have Ancestry and FTM2012 and tons of digitized pictures in my picture file on line besides those in my family trees. Plus I have 4" binders separated first separated in 4 binders by my grandparents surnames and then broken down to all us cousins with all paper work, pictures & documents I have ordered in acid free sleeves individually. The families originated from Norway & England. The main part of my families were amassed in S.W. Iowa & S.E. South Dakota, but now the cousins are all over the place. None of my family, nor my nieces and nephews, seem to have any interest in all this. Is all my work for naught?
... I do not think I have any repositories for all this except for maybe Sioux Falls or Yankton, South Dakota where they do have areas I have visited that have some ancestry history."
That's an interesting and challenging question for each of us. Here is my response:
I will define my "genealogy stuff" (genea-stuff) and what I want to happen to it when I pass from this sphere:
1) I have a collection of genealogy books and periodicals. I want them to go to a "good home" in a local library or to a local genealogical society whose members can use them (perhaps through a book auction or sale).
2) I have a collection (yea verily, about 40 linear feet of them) of notebooks with photocopies and handwritten notes in them from 23 years of genealogical research. I sincerely doubt that a library or genealogical society will want any of that...they are for specific family lines, most of it is available in libraries around the country or in online book and periodical digital archives, and some of it is under copyright protection and should not be digitized. My plan has been to enter the pertinent information from these notebooks into my genealogy management system (software) program with appropriate notes and sourcing, and thereby render the paper collection superfluous. I am not scanning every page into my computer files, only those that are unique and cannot be found in any other repository.
3) There are some unique "family papers" and "official certificate"documents in those notebooks which should be saved for the family. I need to break those items away from the notebooks and put them in a "Save This Stuff" file. I am in the process of scanning these items into my computer file folders, and labelling them with name, date, and place information.
4) I have a bookcase, several boxes, and a file cabinet, full of family pictures, ephemera (scrapbooks, photo albums, family letters, papers, etc.) and artifacts. I am trying to scan as many of the useful photographs as possible, and posting many of them on my blog. I will designate these as "Save This Stuff."
5) My genealogy database contains the vital records (names, dates, places), relationship conclusions, life events, research notes, and sources that are the collected fruits of my genealogical labors. It is imperfect and incomplete (well, I'm not "done" yet!) and yearns for an
6) I have authored two self-published books about my ancestry, have a set of memoirs about my life, and have written 23 years of an annual "Seaver-Richmond Family Journal" that is sent to my brothers, my children and my cousins. These need to go on the DVD also and in the "Save This Stuff" also!
7) I have a wealth of material on my Genea-Musings blog, and in case of my passing it should remain there until blogger dies or dormant blogs on blogger are deleted.
8) I have written a "genealogical directive" and placed it with the important family papers. I need to update it. Basically, I directed that the "genea-stuff" be given to an interested relative, the books and periodicals be given to a genealogy society or library, that the database should be submitted to a number of online family tree websites, and that books be published based on the information in my database and donated to a number of genealogical libraries (e.g., the FHL, NEHGS, SCGS, Chula Vista, Carlsbad, San Diego, Sutro, Allen County, etc.). I need to update that directive, and perhaps make a portion of the daughter's inheritance dependent on satisfying my wishes.
I'm sure that I've left something out in the above litany of "genea-stuff" and I'm sure my readers will have more questions and comments to help set me on a better path. If you have ideas, please make a comment!
Thank you, CeCe, for the concern about my "genea-stuff," and I hope that you, and all of my readers, will think about their own situation with regard to this issue.