Many family historians spend their entire lives collecting documents, pictures and stories of their ancestors. Their project usually starts out as a keen interest in discovering who they are and where they came from. The journey becomes not only about acquiring the proof of their ancestors existence, but it also becomes a journey of personal self-discovery. For this, the historical documents, photos and stories that they acquire become very valuable. Here lies the problem, what does a family historian do with his or her’s family history once they are gone?
The thought of stashing it away on a shelf, never to be seen again, is a painful thought for most of us. Family historians want to share their finds if not today, with future generations. How do we do that? How do we ensure that future generations will be the recipient of this labour of love?
1. Leave in Your Will or Estate
You can leave your valuable documents to a family member in your will or estate, ensuring this relative will carry the torch forward for you. Be sure you speak with them in advance. Let them know of your intentions. Although leaving a relative your family history documents, will not guarantee they will be handled with the care in which you intended, speaking in advance with the recipient, will but your mind at ease, that they have the same interest and respect for the knowledge you are leaving them.
2. Create a Family History Book
You may wish to create a family history book and distribute to it your family. Not everyone maybe interested in it today, but by leaving multiple copies throughout the family, you ensure a greater chance of future generations picking up where you left off.
3. Distribute Your Book to Archives
You can distribute your book to libraries, archives and genealogical societies. A current project is under way with the Canadian Library Archives. Canada 150 is a national project to encourage Canadians to assemble their family history in time for the 150th birthday of Canada on July 1st, 2017. By depositing your stories at the Library and Archives Canada, you will be leaving your families, community and entire country with an invaluable gift.
4. Create A Digital Book
In this new age of digital books, you can create an e-book. You can provide your family history e-book to Google books, or Our Roots or the BYU Family History Archive to name a few. This will put your family history book not only on the shelves of libraries, but in the world's largest digital library.
5. Create an Online Family Website
You can create an online family website, enlisting younger generations to help you keep it up to date. This will aid in its survival long after you are gone.
6. Distribute to Online Databases
You can distribute your family tree amongst the many online databases that exist today. Ancestry.com, World Vital Records and Footnote. Creating a tree in these vast databases allows you to spread your tree quite literally worldwide.
There are many great genealogy books available to help you decide on the method you wish to take to preserving your family history.
Want to read more about creating a family history book and preserving your family history check out these related articles.
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