Monday, June 13, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Preserving your Family History

Last Thursday’s storm battered parts of Connecticut and took out our electricity for three days.  Without which I had time to catch up on my reading.  An article in the Connecticut Genealogy News, Vol. 4 No. 2, What to Do With Your Stuff? by Richard G. Tomlinson caught my attention and I hope Mr. Tomlinson doesn’t mind if I share the information.

Actually this concern has been raised in our genealogy club from time to time.  Members wonder what will become of their research when they are gone. Their children are not interested, nor are other family members. They shudder to think that their precious family files will be thrown in the dumpster.  One member, who was diagnosed with cancer, had plans in place to send the genealogy research of his ancestor who had worked on the Erie Canal to a museum in that area.  Others suggested designating a historical society or local library to receive their materials and to make sure family members know of this designation.

Mr. Tomlinson’s solution is to set up three ring binders for each ancestor. His write-ups are included in the binder as well as vinyl sheets with pockets that hold newspaper clippings, etc. Each binder’s spine is clearly labeled. When he has enough research done, he writes up the history and that is shared via CD or hard copy with family members.  By following this process he hopes that his material will be organized enough that some local genealogy society, historical society or library might accept his files in the future.

Remember DO NOT carry around original documents – birth, marriage, death certificates, etc. Make a copy to keep in your binder for when you are off on a research trip; leave the original at home.

I would love to know what plans others have for preserving their genealogy research.


  1. Excellent advice, Mary, and thanks for raising the issue. So many historical museums would be thrilled to have genealogical research related to local people and places. The North Adams (MA) Museum of History & Science has dozens in its collection, as does the the Museum of Springfield History (Springfield, MA). Personally, my files are going to my youngest niece who love old photos and old stories.

  2. Marian: I am so glad you have a future home picked out for your family history. I plan to leave mine to the Ulysses Historical Society in Trumansburg, NY as most of the family lines connected in that area.