One of our main goals at MCG is to help you preserve and pass on your family history to future generations. Here we provide links to best practices and some of our related posts.
Preserving and Digitizing Photos and Documents
- Recommendations from the National Archives for best practices in home preservation
- Denise May Levenick’s The Family Curator site. Some articles of interest include:
- The Parking Lot System for sorting, tagging, and digitizing photos.
- Five Keys to Leaving a Visual Legacy for Future Generations (Andrew and Rachel Niesen at FamilySearch Blog)
- What to do with the genealogy and family history I collected (FamilySearch Wiki)
Archiving Documents Online for Others to Access
- Internet Archive (Archive.org) for public domain documents or self-publishing of family histories. MCG may be able to help members publish appropriate documents.
- Ancestry.com, MyHeritage, and FamilySearch.org provide means for you to submit family photos and documents to accompany your family tree, which they will archive and make available to other users. The first two sites require subscription.
- You can donate your family history materials (paper or digital) to the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center, an internationally-recognized genealogy library.
Consider offering historical or family items to local or regional historical libraries, societies, or museums with an interest in the time and place of your ancestors.
- Where to Donate Records to Make Them Available to Everyone (Dick Eastman, Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter)
- Donating Your Personal or Family Records to a Repository (Society of American Archivists)
People will often read, keep, and share book-format stories and histories more readily than boxes of genealogy data and random memorabilia. There are many options for self-publishing your own history books. Here are some that have been shared with us:
- Del Sherwood shared his experience with Amazon Publishing in the August 2019 MCG Newsletter.
- Many people enjoy pulling family photos into a professionally printed photobook. There are many photobook printing services available. Denise Levenick links five popular choices and discusses options and approaches in this blog post: https://thefamilycurator.com/genealogy-scan-along-week-3-design-your-book/.
- PicturesandStories.com provide guidance and examples for turning your family history documents and stories into book format that others can engage in and enjoy for generations to come. They provide how-to presentations and workshop series on video at the Pictures and Stories YouTube Channel. Free eBooks or a detailed book outline steps and inspiration.
Family Heirlooms and Non-Paper Mementos
Examples of ways you might tag, record, or preserve items of significance to your family history:
- Historical items may be of interest to a local history museum which accepts donations.
- Tag your items so that others will know the significance of them after you are gone. The Family Curator (Denise May Levenick) provides PDF and editable DOC worksheet forms and suggestions for recording your heirloom histories.
- Make a photo-book recording the items and their significance. Seeds to Tree blogger Jacqueline Krieps Schattner provides the example of the book she created for her children with the title Why Did We Save This? A document version with more description can be kept with your will or other documents.
Getting Organized to Pass On Your History
- Creating a Family Archive by Joyce Whiting (20-minute video presentation, great for removing overwhelm to get started, with good tips)
- From Mountains to Megabytes: Organizing and Archiving Your Stuff (video of Alison Taylor, Pictures and Stories, at RootsTech 2019) See also their free eBook, How to Save your Stuff: Curating your Family Assets.
- Downsizing with your Family History in Mind (video with Lisa Lisson and Devon Noel Lee) discussing topics from Devon’s book Downsizing with your Family History in Mind.
- Downsizing: A Time for Reminiscence and Capturing Family History (Terri Blanchette, Life Story Professionals of the Washington Area). This brief article provides a quick overview of steps, helping make it do-able and less overwhelming.
- Consider publishing your family history writing or work under a Creative Commons license which will allow others to more easily share and pass on your work. Depending on the level you choose, you can prevent it being adopted for commercial use.
- Legal commentary on copyright, particularly of photo portraits by professional photographers (even those 100 years old).
- Suggestions for getting photos you can legally include in your family history book.
- Who owns the copyright on family letters and photographs? (“Giving it away” by The Legal Genealogist) This article includes note on family materials donated to archives.