Want to ensure your genealogy research and family heirlooms will be loved and pampered in perpetuity? Include provisions for them in your will. You can bequeath the material to a trusted descendant who’ll treasure your legacy, or if you don’t have someone in mind, leave it to a library, society, museum or archive.
Repositories such as the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) actively seek such donations, but first ask the facility whether it can accommodate your materials. Consider donating your notes and documents to a repository where your research is focused. Although NEHGS like many similar groups is interested in any genealogical materials, its collections focus on New England. Would someone researching Virginia roots think to look at the NEHGS library in Boston? Probably not. For tips on donating your research, see the Society of American Archivists’ guide at <www.archivists.org/catalog/donating-familyrecs.html> and Katherine Scott Sturdevant’s Organizing and Preserving Your Heirloom Documents (Betterway Books).
In your will, make your wishes clear and designate a genealogy buddy to be your family history executor. Include instructions for that person to weed through your papers to separate what can be pitched from what can’t you can’t expect a repository or family member to take everything you’ve collected over the decades.
From the April 2005 Family Tree Magazine