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25 July 2011

If You Really Want to Preserve Your Work

Consider ways to preserve your genealogy information before you die. Don't include it in your will and think that you're "done." Libraries don't always have time to organize unorganized material and some don't have the funds to preserve it, catalog it, or store it. And your will may tell your executor what to do, but are a few boxes of papers going to be high on their priority list? Will the probate judge care what's done that box of papers? Will the estate's heirs and beneficiaries really care? Remember that unless you're a well-known author, your manuscripts aren't financially valuable documents.

Consider publishing bits and pieces of what you've located now, even if it is not finished. Local or state society publications may be interested. Self-publishing may be an option. Publishing to a website might not be enough for long term preservation--will the website be around in fifty or a hundred years? Ask around for ideas on how others have preserved their information. But don't simply put it "in your will and forget about it."


  1. So true! I know people with piles of files and boxes of documents who don't really know what to do with it all. Great post!

  2. Great tips. I plan to work toward what you suggest with my family research.

    After my dad's death in 2006, my youngest sister and I began the process of getting his piles and boxes and bags of papers organized and filed just to see what is there before we decide what to do with it all. It's daunting. We're only able to do this once in a while (I live in another state). He loved researching and writing family and local history, but he didn't like to organize. There might be an answer to a family history brick wall in there somewhere!