Preserving Your Family’s History
There is an article out there on Yahoo.com that talks about what a person’s children want from them more than money when they die and what they want may just surprise you.
It turns out that family keepsakes top the list over cold cash. It seems that more than 85-percent of Baby Boomers said family stories and keeping their family history alive is more important to them than money. Given the nature of our economy, the relatively low wages many are paid today when compared to their parents and grandparents, this would seem to be a no-brainer as savings accounts continue to dwindle with each passing year.
The survey indicated that families often fail to record their histories, so those stories tend to die with aging relatives and family mementos are among the most common causes of conflict after a relative dies.
In years past, one would have to borrow photos or documents and take them to a studio to have copies made. Some family elders were hesitant to do this because they’d been burned before by those trusted with the items failing to return them. However, in this age of computers and digital technology, preserving a family’s history and story is easier than ever. Digital cameras make taking photos easier and less expensive. No longer do you have to get large number of prints made in order to share.
Scanners eliminate the need to borrow old photos. With a laptop and scanner, photos dating back as far as 150-years can be scanned in home and saved to a hard drive. Photos can be stored on CDs or DVDs and are an inexpensive way to share them with family members. One piece of advice: get prints made of any or all of these keepsakes and put them in an album. Digital files are a great resource, but hard drives do have issues. Be sure to write the name(s) on the back of the photos, too, but use a pencil.
If you find that your family elders have all passed away and taken their stories to the grave, there is an exceptional tool to learn your genealogy. It’s Ancestry.com. You’ll be amazed what you can learn from the comfort of your own home. You may find people out there who are distant cousins from branches of your family tree you didn’t know even existed. They may even have photos of relatives never seen by your family members they’d be willing to e-mail you. Don’t overlook U.S. Census files. They can be a great resource for family history information. Now, if you find that you have run into a dead end using Ancestry, or similar on-line site, you can always hire a professional genealogist. Doing so can confirm your research, fill in any holes, correct any discrepancies and (maybe) go back farther in your family tree.
Now that you have some great photos on file, and learned your ancestors’ history in person or on-line, it’s time to match up the information with the photos you’ve acquired. There are a number of self-publishing companies out there, like www.blurb.com where you can make and publish your own family history narrative or photo album. These books make great presents for birthdays, weddings, holidays or family reunions
While it is late to do a project now for this Christmas, it can be a New Year’s Resolution for 2014 that will pay off in more ways than one in years to come. Winter and the associated cold weather arrived early this year. I can think of no better project to pass the time than preserving your family’s history. Good luck and have fun.