I’ve heard horror stories about avid genealogists passing away and their families tossing their many years of research in the trash. Say it ain’t so!
Clearly, those of you who are reading this column are the family’s appointed genealogists—you’re the ones everyone calls when they want to know something like “what was the maiden name of great-grandpa Joe’s second wife?” You’re the keeper of the records, but what happens to those records after you’re gone? A sobering thought, yes?
One way of preserving your research is to make multiple copies and get them into the hands of as many relatives as possible. That way (hopefully) someone will get the genie bug and keep delving into the family’s past. Another suggestion is to load your GEDCOM file into online databases like RootsWeb’s World Connect project or contribute to the Pedigree Resource File at FamilySearch.
Also, if your pioneer family settled early into a county, contact the local historical about donating your files. Some genealogy societies even have special forms to fill out regarding leaving your research to the society. Of course, if you’ve written a family history book, getting it into the Family History Library is a guarantee your years of dedication will never be forgotten.
To learn more about preserving your research for posterity:
• Preserving Your Research
• RootsWeb World Connect
• A Guide to Donating Your Personal or Family Papers to a Repository
• Donating to the Family History Library