What is your genealogy legacy?

As genealogists, we spend years tracking down copies of birth, death and marriage certificates; records of military service; census records; photographs and other memorabilia to document those that came before us. We adore the ancestor who carefully documented every moment of their life. Our least favorite ancestor is the one that moved constantly, kept no records and disappeared every time the census taker was due. One hundred years down the road when the genealogy bug bites one of your descendants, how will they look at you?

Do you label pictures? Be sure to include the names of people in pictures as well as the date the photo was taken. Consider also including the location.  Even if the location was only a vacation spot rather than a place you lived, it gives insight into your life. Genealogy is about more than just data.

If you have switched to digital pictures rather than prints, consider renaming the image files. While you know that pic0569280 is your cousin Lucy, your great-grandchildren probably won't. If the thought of renaming all those files gives you a headache, why not add a document to the picture disc noting the subjects in the photos? Another option is to right-click the photo on your computer, click on properties and add the details on the summary tab.

What will happen to all your hard work tracing the family tree after you are gone? Sharing your research is a good way to ensure all your work is not lost. There are several places you can share your tree, including Ancestry, RootsWeb World Connect and Genealogy.com. Check your family tree software as well. Many programs include the option to upload your tree to their site.

You may also want to consider doing a family tree scrapbook. It's similar to traditional scrapbooking, but with an emphasis on family history. If you need more information on getting started, check out my previous posts on scrapbooking.

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