1. Decide who is going to get YOUR stuff. Will an adult child of yours who is not interested now, be interested later? Would a more distant family member conserve these treasures? How about a historical society or museum? Her grandfather, Henry Jackson Adams drove the first "Rio" automobile across the United States, with two kids - she found a home for his original scrapbooks - wrapped in deerskin - in a museum in Lansing, Michigan.
2. Mark items as to who will get them - items in boxes or bags may be seen as trash, but if labels and names of who they should go to are on them, the chances of their survival is greater. Makes a list of these items or collections and keep them with your important papers.
3. Start giving your heirlooms away now while you have complete control over these items. The recipients will be able to understand who significant the items are. For photographs the website http://www.deadfred.com/ was mentions as a place to send scanned images of unnamed people. Also local museums may welcome photographs of local people, even if not identified.
|Lelilani with her grandmother's wedding gown|
This was a very interesting meeting, thanks to Leilani Maguire.
I've included some correspondence from a genealogist cousin in Texas who answered my (Donna Wendt's) question about "What to do with Your Stuff" -- Robert "Larry" Akin responded:
|Larry Akin responds to question|
Then there is the material that I have collected on the Akin family more distant than my local family. I have met folks that keep extensive journals of their research activity, but that is not me. I just don't write much down as I go along. What little I do have, I intend to scan and put on my hard drive along with all the rest of the stuff. I have done a lot of scanning of materials, and I intend to continue doing that. As I scan stuff, I toss the paper unless it is an original that has historical value.
Note that I keep several backups of this digital data. Hopefully, I will end up with just these historical originals in paper form. These I intend to donate to the NEHGS. I picked them because most of our family originated from New England and because I know that they will appreciate the gift, preserve it, and make it available to others. I helped another genealogist donate her notebooks to NEHGS although I scanned the pages before I sent them off. They are on the CD.
The digital material that I scanned will be sent to some family members, who are interested in our history. I will also give copies to my children, cousins, and siblings although so far few have expressed much interest in genealogy. And, I will include DVDs of this material when I make the donation to NEHGS. I may also send copies to some of the public libraries that are in locations that are important in our history - like the Akin Library in Quaker Hill, Johnstown Library, Dartmouth/New Bedford Libraries, etc.
Then there is the "David Akin of Newport, R.I." family tree on Ancestry.com. This is what I consider my primary repository of genealogy materials. I have no idea how Ancestry.com will evolve during the remaining years of my life, but I am going to continue to add media, sources and names. Hopefully, most of my digital library can be uploaded.
I do not know if or how the ownership of a database on Ancestry.com can be transferred to a different person, but I certainly hope that I will be able to give the ownership rights to someone that will keep it going. I have a number of family members on the site as collaborators, and I intend to continue to refine and expand this group so that there will continue to be a community interested in the material.
Then there is the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. I am keeping a close eye on their offerings and capabilities. They may eclipse everyone else and become the repository of choice for genealogy materials. If so, I will try to switch horses."