Feature Article: Don’t Let Your Family History Be Tossed in the Trash

I was shocked when I read this story.

When avid genealogist Merma Grant Carlisle died, her family wasn’t interested in her very large collection of family history, charts and research files – so they boxed it all up and put it out “on the curb for the trash collectors.”

Source: Deseret News

Read the full story from the Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah), 19 April 2016, here: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865652472/This-trash-was-a-real-treasure.html#prclt-62M3xcat


Don’t let this happen to you.

Start now to scan and preserve your family information online.

We live busy lives so take steps now to upload your important family history information so that your heirs will not be overwhelmed by the challenge of absorbing the hundreds of files, books and mementoes you have accumulated over your lifetime of genealogy research.

Source: FamilySearch

Scan your family photos and attach them to your online family tree.

Sign up for free sites like Pinterest or Flickr and upload your photos there as an additional online backup. Be sure to describe the photo – naming each person and including the date, place and brief additional information about them. Now your family will always have access to that image and know more of the family history.

Source: Thomas Jay Kemp

Start now to systematically scan your research files and attach them to your online family tree.

Reach out to your relatives now and confirm with them their interest and ability to take your research files.

Contact libraries and determine their interest. Realistically libraries cannot ingest stacks of files and notes. They are already stretching to provide access to the published books, online databases, photographs and records that they already have.

They might not have room for your three shelves of handwritten notes in loose-leaf binders, or your four-drawer file cabinets and boxes of notes that are still not sorted.

By starting now – scanning and uploading a few items every day – you will preserve your research and save your family the guilt of just not being able to handle this material.

Your obligation as family historian is to not only research it – but ensure that it is preserved permanently online, on multiple sites.

Click here to listen to my webinar “Bringing It All Together and Leaving a Permanent Record.”

Merma Carlisle’s story had a happy ending.

Her neighbors spotted the boxes of her family history out at the curb and rescued them.

Don’t rely on your neighbors to rescue your family history – take steps now to preserve it online.


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