WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU ARE GONE
Have you ever given thought to what will happen
to all the mountains of research after you are no
longer,"guardian of the files"?
There are I grant you several options -at the same time there are many problems with each one:
1.Children--Which one? many times there seems to be no real interest on the part of any of your children.
2.Grandchildren--This is great, but if they are very young now, who knows if this will be of interest to them later.
3.Library/Archival Holdings--This would be a useful thing to do, which one? what family line?
From my personal point of view, which is really all I can give you right now--
Even though, I know it wasn't really the way it was, it seems as if during my childhood I was drug into and walked through every cemetery in about 3 states, mostly Indiana. Didn't seem to have any real connection to me, these people had been dead quite some time. At ages 10-14 you always seem to have many more important things to do then walk through cemeteries, especially on vacation.
Then there were the libraries, and the xerox machines.
This was a little more interesting, although not much.
Due to dire family illness, the genealogy was shelved for years, I married, had children and divorced.
Then...I got it, the "bug".
I knew it was there and I could get it at anytime, but really didn't think I would.
There are no known vaccines for it, no instant cures, and to my knowledge no telethons raising money to cure the "bug".
I started researching, now I could better comprehend the desire to roam the cemeteries, hang out at the libraries, talk in that strange language of:
census,immigration, ship lists,I had to read obituaries,possibilities, speculations.
My children (grown now) find it strange that mom actually not only takes photos of gravestones, she SAVES them.
I find it odd that sometimes I can, given a name, regardless of time frame have recall of parents,dates,deaths. But bring me to the present and well, you all know......
What does this all have to do with who to leave your files to?
Don't always assume that your children WON'T be interested at a future date. When I got the "bug" nobody had been prodding me it just "happened".
I have three children. One would like the info,although as he puts it "you already have everything done, but I'd like to read it".
One thinks its neat, but I can tell "really" doesn't want control of it.
Then, there is the other child..
Most recently he has decided to borrow my familytreemaker and install it. He has asked for help and suggestions, he doesn't always have time to "get into it", BUT the "bug" is there, he has been bitten or he wouldn't be at the point he is.
It is I grant you a tough decision as to who to leave the info to.
I would like to make a copy for each of the children and for the grandchildren.
But that still isn't the same as who will carry on the search. I would hate to see all the research just be read and not furthered.
Of course you may all have comtemporaries who are also working on the family history and you feel that they understand the importance and the value of the research.
But, of course you realize especially if they are older that in most likelihood they will be gone before you are.
For me, the library is not an option as I don't wish for it to just sit there. I want it furthered.
My suggestion, for what it is worth--
Look to the child of yours who had the most questions growing up, was the most curious, never could quite accept the reasoning "just because".The one who always dug just a little further into the why,how and where then all the other children in the area.
My bet is this will be the child who later, has that desire to know. Who won't accept, "it was because it was."
Everyone who is researching knows that it takes a certain amount of just not being able to accept everything they are told.Sure leave a copy to your grandchildren and to your children, but there is an inherent difference in a copy of the family history and your files.
But then, as a final note, maybe I will be the first to have to have two burial plots. One will be for me and the other will have a stone saying "Her Files".
We all know true genealogists never reach the end, after all once you leave this world, how are you going to ask all those questions,(wherever you are) without your files..........