One of the common problems MacGenealogists shared with me in my recent “One Problem Survey” is the fear of your genealogical materials being lost or forgotten after you pass on or can’t manage it yourself any more. This concern coincides with a recent story.
I know a genealogist that passed away on January 1st, 2007. His name was Bob. I know Bob put a lot of effort into his research and that he took trips to do more research and walk in his ancestor’s footsteps. I wondered what happened to his research, so I asked.
It turns out Bob’s PC and three-ring-binders have yet to be picked up by his son!I don’t mean this as a slight or to suggest that it should be any other way than it is. It’s just an observation, but one I think Bob would have thought important: his son is apparently not motivated to carry on his genealogy research nor even preserve it for the future. Might this be the fate of your research too?
It very likely would have been the fate of mine. When I read your concerns and thought about the fate of Bob’s research the solution was immediately apparent to me and I knew it was a nearly universal problem so I was compelled to develop a method to solve it and give it away to all genealogists.
I put together a draft of the program. It’s called, Establishing a Genealogical Materials Steward. The six simple methods in this program virtually guarantee that your genealogical research will be available to and remembered by succeeding generations. Here are the steps:
1. Prepare For Stewardship
2. Create a Prioritized List of Stewardship Candidates
3. Ask Each Stewardship Candidate (in Priority Order) Until One Accepts
4. Provide the Stewardship Materials
5. Review the Stewardship Materials with Them
6. Schedule Ongoing Stewardship Material Refreshes
Simple, right? Simple, but not easy. Judging by the state of the genealogy “research” published on the Internet, these simple steps are also secrets until now. Naturally there are specific techniques that make up each step, but these sub-steps are simple too. Anyone can do this!
As I said, I’m going to make this program available to anyone who wants it at no cost. First I need to polish any rough edges and make sure it is complete. To do this I need some more people to volunteer to go through the process and give me feedback. This first pass through the program will be limited to a small number of people so that I can keep it manageable. The instructions will be emailed to you each week, one step at a time. This will give you time to review the material, ask any questions, take action, and give feedback.
[Update: The program is not available]