Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Preserving Family History Research for Family Members

I don't know why I only received a message about this month's Genealogy Blog Party on June 23, when it apparently was posted on June 6, but at least I heard about it.  It's an important topic, too:  What will happen to your research after you are gone?  How do you preserve it for other family members?

I don't have any descendants, but I do have plenty of family members:  parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins by the dozens, extended family members.  And I've been sharing my research with as many of them as possible for several years.

Before sending everything by e-mail became the norm, every year for Christmas and Chanukah (because I come from a "mixed marriage", you know) I would mail out about fifty or so manila envelopes to all the family members I was in contact with.  Each person would receive updated information for all the family lines he (or she) was descended from.  (Yes, I tried single-handedly to keep the U.S. Postal Service in business.)  I sent family trees, narrative reports, and copies of photographs.  I found out the relatives I was sending them to shared them with other family members when some of the latter contacted me.  Hooray!  That meant more people had the information.

Nowadays I do that sharing mostly by e-mail.  I also readily share my research with cousins who find me while wandering the Web (the way my Cuban cousins found me).

A couple of years ago I had a lot of my family photos digitized.  (I still have a lot to go.)  I posted them online and shared the URL with all the cousins I knew from that side of the family.  It was a good exchange:  They could download copies of the photos, and they were able to identify most of the people in the photos for me.

I have put together several photo books through one of the popular online sites and given them as presents to family members.  Some books have focused on specific family lines, with photos of ancestors, collateral relatives, and scenes from ancestral hometowns.  Other books were about living relatives and their families.  I've also had magnets, playing cards, mugs, placemats, and shopping bags made with family photos.

I post lots of family stories and photographs on my blog, another way to share with family members.  I have downloaded the blog occasionally to archive it, but I haven't really thought about making a book out of it.  It's an interesting idea.

It seems like I'm doing quite a bit, but I know I could do more.  I'm not sure I'll ever work my way up to a book, though.  Now, if one of my relatives asks me to help supply information for a book that person wants to write, that would be great!


  1. Janice, You've done a great job keeping everyone updated and in the loop. I found that the digitizing wasn't so bad - my husband did quite a bit, but then I opted to just ship it out and have it professionally done, which I haven't regretted. I'm looking at using a service to create books out of my blogs. Have you looked at any companies yet?

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Linda. I have not looked at any services to make books yet. What ones can you tell me about?

  2. Hi Janice, I'm participating in Denise Levenick's Scan Along specifically so I can make my first photo book. Like you, Janice, I send genealogy snippets out at holiday time. I have a one page (front and back) newsletter, with one column for each grandparent's line.

    1. Hi, Jane, thanks for posting. What is Denise Levenick's Scan Along? I don't think I've ever heard of that.

  3. I really like the idea of the genealogical photo album as a gift. It sounds like it could be made in a very cool way. I plan to google that scan along too!

  4. Online sites such as Shutterfly make it very easy to put together a photo album. And I found the intro about the scan along at


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