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. Luckily, I asked members of the MacGenealogist.com community to share with me their one big genealogy problem and fear of one's research being lost and forgotten was a common one. When I saw this fear among the responses 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 make it freely available to all genealogists. I have put together a draft of a method I call Establishing a Genealogical Materials Steward. With the six simple steps in this method you can 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 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 method 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 people to volunteer to go through the process and give me feedback. This first pass through the method 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. If you're interested, sign up for the mailing list here
Even if you aren't interested in helping on this shake-down cruise, I would still like your input. Have you arranged for someone to manage your research after you pass? If so, how did you go about selecting the person or institution and arranging it? If not, what's preventing you?