WHO WILL INHERIT YOUR FAMILY HISTORY?
November 28, 2010
I have asked this many times, and I am asking it again. Listen, this is important! What are your descendants going to do with your family history when you leave this earth? Have you decided to give it to the local library for their collection? Maybe you chose the state library or an interested family member. Where is the best place to leave your valuable family research?
I just heard from genealogist Arlene Eakle, Ph.D., who is literally collecting family history from the trash barrels around her town. She finds what she can, collects all she can pick up, and ships in what she can afford to house in her building that she bought for this purpose.
Arlene, a speaker, spent many nights in the genealogy ‘bedrooms’ of her hosts. She says, “I was surrounded by genealogy books and personal family history manuscripts, I was almost in heaven. Therefore she asked herself this question, “What will happen to these precious materials when you are no longer here?” The answer usually was usually “I don’t know. My children are not interested in any of it.” Alternatively, “My children are interested but they have no room to house my stuff.” Each time, she felt the same shiver.”
Prompted by her love of genealogy and practical understanding of the amount of time and hard work that goes into collecting, verifying, writing family history, and preservation, she bought a building in Tremonton, Utah, with sufficient space to house your collection permanently, for the time being anyway. It had been a furniture store and sportswear-knitting factory. The size is sufficient to house the plastic bag of genealogy she found leaning against the trash can on Van Nuys Boulevard in Southern California, plus the 6 ½ tons of professional genealogy she received from the British Isles professional family and locality files, also known as the Sherwood Collection. Other collections in the permanent storage include:
- 3 million entry slip index to British court documents
- 50,000 entry card index to German Church books
- 12 file drawers of American professional research files including original photographs (Hollingsworth Collection)
- 5 Virginia databases - rent rolls, 53 family notebooks, marriage records, land ownership maps, “minutemen” for Culpeper County
- Chamberlain Families of America Collection - family notebooks, correspondence files, US census entries and spreadsheets, family group records, and pedigree charts
- Family Group Sheet Collection from commercial research firms, including British Isles families
- British Isles Research Files from professional genealogists
- Ron Bremer Finding Aids Collection, with digital subject and name index - finding aids to libraries and archives across the US and Canada
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a Certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: TracingOurRoots@gmail.com.