The Genealogical Heir: Who is this person? Is it a child or grandchild you pass the information down to and who inherits volumes of paper work? Is it another genealogist who you share a common research problem with? Is it some unknown person on the internet that reads your blog ten years from now? Is it someone from the same area as your ancestor who reads your printed family history in the local genealogy society’s collections?
We all want a genealogical heir (or forty. 🙂 ). But heirs inherit something of value. So as we start this do over, what are we going to leave our genealogical heirs of value?
1) well organized paperwork is valuable. Piles of unorganized paper, not so much.
2) well written family histories are valuable. (by well written, I mean written. 🙂 )
3) blogs are valuable (and yes, I know people worry about the internet going away. Google my name and you will find posts from the 1990s. Those posts aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.)
4) oral family histories are valuable.
As I start this do over this week I am asking myself, what do I want to leave behind for my genealogical heirs? Because that is important in decided the first steps of where do I begin. One reason we collect all this data and documents and photos is so that we can share them with our genealogical heirs. But we don’t necessarily have to hand that heirloom to them ourselves. When my grandmother died, I got a small collection of junk she kept on a shelf in her living room. It had no monitory value. It was junk. But it had big sentimental value. She did not give it to me, nor did she ever see me own it. In fact while she was alive, I wasn’t even allowed to touch it. That’s usually how it works between testator and heir. So as we get ready to begin processing paper work, what plans do you have to pass it on to your future genealogical heir? Personally, I love the oral family histories that have been written down in book or blog format. I prefer those (the meat of the person’s life) over photocopies of census papers (the bones). So that it one thing I started trying to do last year is to write down those oral family histories. I shared them on FB so my three kids and my cousins could all read them. It opened a lot of dialog about family last year.
I have shared similar stories here with you. Hopefully one day one of you will be my genealogical heir. If you are reading this in the year 2065, it is my 100th birthday this year. Please enjoy your ancestral hunt on my behalf!
So what are you leaving your Genealogical Heir? And does it have value…..