Thursday, July 14, 2011

Documenting Now For Future Generations

Back in November 2010, I wrote an article about Continuing Family History and  how we often get so caught up in researching all our ancestors from the past that we are neglecting to keep up with documenting current generations and stories and mementos of today. Terri left me a comment which has taken me some time to formulate a good answer. She stated, “It's interesting Kay that you talk about preserving our history now for future generations. It is more difficult today to do that with technology the way it is. I have so many letters from my ancestors but today we just text, email or phone. We don't write things down. We need to think about how to preserve heirlooms and record events for our future children.”

Here are some things that I have been doing for my children and my grandchildren that might also be helpful to you.

First of all, I have set up several family trees using tribal where I have first a master tree with all the connecting family branches and then trees also set up for each of my children and their spouses and their group tree. This way, they can see how everything connects together on the master tree and then if they want to just concentrate on their own tree along with that of their spouse, they can do that also. The nice thing about tribal pages is that you can enter information about each person in the notes section and you can also include photographs if you have them.

As a security measure, I also have these trees on my computer as well as copied onto discs along with a copy of my family tree maker, which is the program off of the LDS website, so that they can install this program on their own computers if they want to continue to do additional work on the lines. This also ensures that if for some reason the Internet site is no longer available that all of my work will not have been done in vain.

The next thing I have done is created genealogy books for each family so that they can have a hard copy that they can physically hold and read and absorb all the information that it contains. In some cases, there is so much information more than one book is required.

As for heirlooms to pass onto future generations, I began by going through my photographs, labeling as many as I could on the backs and placing them into individual envelopes for each of my children.  There are some personal items that I want them to have and I have told them that I would like them to have those right now so that I am sure that they will receive them. If there are certain items that I just have to have, then I will be sure that those things are listed in my will and that their names will be listed on the physical item so that they will assuredly receive them.

I also have heirlooms that once belonged to my grandparents, some of which will also be disturbed the same way. If no one wants those items, then I will have them donate them to a museum, or I will handle it myself before I leave this beautiful world.

At present, there are four boxes in my hall closet, labeled with the name of each of my children. Inside they are going to find a collection of items that we have previously discussed that are to be theirs, along with some other items that I’ve saved over the years that I think they will be pleased to have.

I started a journal of my life for my children and my grandchildren. I want them to know about my growing up years as well as all the marvelous things that I have been privy to in the history of  this world and our country. Thank you Terri for your comment to my post because it has reminded me that I really need to be more diligent, working on this on a regular basis.

Like Terri, I also regret that nowadays so much of our communication is handled by the impersonal emails, the twitters and by phone. We no longer often hold a physical letter or greeting card in our hands and see the writing of that person, which by the way, really does tell so much about their personality! But graphoanalysis is another subject and maybe something I will post about at a later date if some interest is shown by my readers. 

I personally am probably the worlds worst pack-rat when it comes to saving things from my children and their growing years such as pictures that they created and were lovingly hung on the refrigerator, to handmade birthday cards and  Christmas gifts that they have given me over the years. I have their graduation announcements from school and even came across their old vaccination records when I was cleaning out my keepsake drawer. I’ve saved Mother’s Day, birthday and  Valentine’s Day cards that they have given me over the years, all stored in a special box.

I do know of one father who was stationed overseas in Iraq for over a year and he kept every single email that his wife and children sent to him. He plans on including that into his genealogy records. I am sure those will be very interesting reading for his grandchildren some day.

So even though communications of today have gotten away from the handwritten word, there are still ways of preserving precious memories and I hope that this will give all of you some new ideas for saving yours.

1 comment:

  1. I was going to suggest printing out the emails of interest. When I worked for SPI, any email that came in was printed up, and saved as a hardcopy.