Finding Females: Wives, Mothers, Daughters, Sisters & Paramours — replay of today's members-only webinar by Elizabeth Shown Mills now available for members

2024-02-23-image500blog

The recording of today's webinar by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, "Finding Females: Wives, Mothers, Daughters, Sisters & Paramours” is now available to view at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com for webinar members.

Webinar Description

One of the toughest challenges faced by genealogists is the difficulty of identifying and tracking females. Wives and mothers traditionally have been “supporting characters” to the roles played by their husbands and sons—bearing no known name other than that of the males they married or bore. Historically, social mores and law codes made them second-class citizens, without a legal identity of their own and few rights or opportunities to create the range of records that genealogists customarily use to trace males. This session presents an array of resources—and, more importantly, techniques and strategies backed by case studies—we can use to establish the identities of elusive females.

View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 17 minute recording of "Finding Females: Wives, Mothers, Daughters, Sisters & Paramours" is now available to view in our webinar library.

Webinar Memberships/Subscriptions

Webinar Members get:

  • On-demand access to the entire webinar archives (now 2,137 classes of genealogy education)
  • On-demand access to the instructor handouts (now 8,201 pages)
  • On-demand access to the live webinars' chat logs
  • 5% off all products at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com (must be logged in at checkout)
  • Access to all future recordings for the duration of their membership
  • Chance for a members-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Access to register for bonus members-only webinars
  • Ability to view which webinars you are registered for
  • Use of the playlist, resume watching, and jump-to features

Introductory pricing:

  • Annual membership: $49.95/year

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

Print the 2024 webinar brochure here.


African American Funeral Programs: A Brief Introduction

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It's not unusual to receive some remembrance when you attend a funeral. Historically, giving gifts and feeding mourners was essential to the funeral. As technology advanced, the ability to print invitations, programs, and cards allowed the mourner to be provided with something to remember the deceased by and learn more about their life.

One example of this is found in African American Funeral Programs. Michelle J. Pinkard's article, A Conversation with Aunt Carol: The Fluid Functionality of Funeral Programs in African-American Culture, explains the importance of funeral programs in the African American community for various reasons. Regarding a Texas collection, she writes, " …the obituaries of Blacks were generally not published in mainstream newspapers in San Antonio until the late 1950s and 1960s." [1]Funeral programs provide a rich information resource for a marginalized community lacking genealogical records like obituaries.

These programs can contain genealogically relevant information and names of people in the deceased's FAN Club (Friends, Associates, and Neighbors). Today, a growing collection of these programs can be found online. 

Funeral Program Digital Collections

Funeral program digital collections exist on numerous websites. Below are some examples:

WestFelicianaLibrary
West Feliciana Parish Library Funeral Webpage on African American Funeral Programs

West Feliciana Public Library - The West Feliciana Digital History Archive- African American Funeral Collection currently includes 84 funeral programs for West Feliciana, Louisiana Parish. Initially a donation of one man, the Library asks others to donate to their archive. The website states:

African American Funeral Programs provide extensive genealogical information about the deceased, including birth and death dates, maiden names, names of relatives and friends, and place of burial. In addition to genealogical information about the deceased, the documents may contain employment information, educational history, church memberships, professional affiliations, and personal and professional accomplishments. This data can otherwise be hard to find, particularly for marginalized populations.

You can find this collection at https://www.wfplibrary.org/post/wfdigitalhistoryarchive-african-american-funeral-programs-collection.

Chatham County Funeral Programs
Chatham County Funeral Programs on DigitalNC

The Chatham County Historical Society (North Carolina) – African American Funeral Collection includes 1,326 funeral programs from Chatham County. Funeral programs can be searched or browsed at https://www.digitalnc.org/exhibits/chatham-county-funeral-programs/. Items are indexed by the person's name and their birth and death year. Of the collection, the Historical Society states:

In just a few pages, each program tells the story of a valued community member. There are tributes to housewives, nurses, military members, college professors, truck drivers, coaches, businessmen, and children. There are lodge members, Boy Scouts, Sunday-School teachers, choir members, athletes, and car club members. Revealed in the programs are interesting nicknames and touching personal anecdotes.

The programs are in the collection of the Chatham County Historical Association, and are made available online by UNC's Digital Heritage program. The Chatham County African-American Funeral Program Collection documents the lives and deaths of several generations of black Chatham County residents. Covering funerals held between 1957 and 2018, the programs typically contain an obituary, a list of surviving relatives, and the order of service. Many also contain a photograph of the deceased.

Once you find the program you're interested in, you can click the result, and then you will see a card-catalog description and a link to download the program. You can also view the digitized program online.

Digital Library of GA - Atlanta funeral programs collection
Digital Library of GA - Atlanta funeral programs collection

The Digital Library of Georgia offers the Atlanta Funeral Programs Collection. The programs in this digital collection date from 1886-2019 and are housed at the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History. The website states that the collection includes

Over 3300 funeral programs documenting the funeral services of Georgia residents, primarily from the Atlanta, Georgia area. Most of the programs are from services held during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. A majority of the programs are from churches in the Atlanta, Georgia area, with a few programs from other states such as South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York, among others.

Archives and libraries aren't the only repositories collecting, digitizing and making available funeral programs to researchers. One example of a genealogy society working on such a project is the California African American Genealogical Society. Obituaries are also included in this collection.

How to Find Other Collections

I've only spotlighted a few of the possible funeral program collections available online. A Google search on the keyword phrase "African American Funeral Program" will help you uncover more (you can also add a state name to that search to narrow it to your state of interest). Also, consider searching the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). If the deceased's name is indexed, you might find it with a name search on their website. DPLA is a catalog of other repository catalogs, thus making it a "one-stop shop" for searches.

Professional genealogist, Diane L Richard gave a RootsTech presentation titled Funeral Programs –A 20th Century Goldmine that is available in the RootsTech Library. The accompanying handout includes links to other collections that will be of interest.

One last thing to consider. Many of these collections exist due to the generosity of donors who provide funeral programs they and their families have collected over the years for a repository's collection. If you have some funeral programs, consider donating to a collection that can digitize and make them available to the public for research.

[1] "A Conversation with Aunt Carol: The Fluid Functionality of Funeral Programs in African-American Culture" by Michelle J. Pinkard in Women and the Material Culture of Death. Edited by Maureen Daly Goggin and Beth Fowkes Tobin. New York: Routledge. 2016.

 

Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, instructor, and researcher. She blogs at Gena's Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. You can find her presentations on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.

 


Genealogy Smart Start: Things I Wish I’d Known - Free replay of today's webinar by Elizabeth Williams Gomoll, CG now available for limited time

Genealogy Smart Start, Things I Wish I’d Known Free replay of today's webinar by  Elizabeth Williams Gomoll, CG now available for limited time

The recording of today's webinar by Elizabeth Williams Gomoll, CG, "Genealogy Smart Start: Things I Wish I’d Known” is now available to view at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com for free for a limited time.

Webinar Description

Get some great tips from this genealogist who had to learn the basics the hard way, plus a few smart tricks she picked up from experts along the way. You can start smarter than I did!

View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 23 minute recording of "Genealogy Smart Start: Things I Wish I’d Known" is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time.

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  • On-demand access to the entire webinar archives (now 2,137 classes of genealogy education)
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  • 5% off all products at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com (must be logged in at checkout)
  • Access to all future recordings for the duration of their membership
  • Chance for a members-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Access to register for bonus members-only webinars
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Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

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Register for Friday's "The Best of ESM" series members-only webinar — Finding Females: Wives, Mothers, Daughters, Sisters & Paramours by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL

Register for Friday's "The Best of ESM" series members-only webinar — Finding Females: Wives, Mothers, Daughters, Sisters & Paramours by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL

One of the toughest challenges faced by genealogists is the difficulty of identifying and tracking females. Wives and mothers traditionally have been “supporting characters” to the roles played by their husbands and sons—bearing no known name other than that of the males they married or bore. Historically, social mores and law codes made them second-class citizens, without a legal identity of their own and few rights or opportunities to create the range of records that genealogists customarily use to trace males. This session presents an array of resources—and, more importantly, techniques and strategies backed by case studies—we can use to establish the identities of elusive females.

*** This class requires an active webinar membership to attend. ***

About the presenter

Across a long career, Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS, has been an innovator of research methods and strategies. Published widely by academic and popular presses, she edited a national-level scholarly journal for 16 years, taught for 13 years at a National Archives-based institute on archival records and, for 25 years, headed a university-based program for advanced researchers. A past president of both the American Society of Genealogists and the Board for Certification of Genealogists, Elizabeth is the author, editor, and translator of 14 books and over 600 articles in the fields of genealogy, history, literature, and sociology. She has delivered over 1,000 lectures internationally, has appeared on radio and TV talk shows on three continents, and was featured in BBC’s 20th and 30th anniversary specials on the novel Roots.

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Register for Webinar Wednesday — Genealogy Smart Start, Things I Wish I’d Known by Elizabeth Williams Gomoll, CG

Register for Webinar Wednesday — Genealogy Smart Start, Things I Wish I’d Known by Elizabeth Williams Gomoll, CG

Get some great tips from this genealogist who had to learn the basics the hard way, plus a few smart tricks she picked up from experts along the way. You can start smarter than I did!

About the presenter

Elizabeth Williams Gomoll, CG, is co-editor of the Minnesota Genealogist quarterly journal, and president of the Association for Professional Genealogists Northland Chapter. She has served three terms on the Minnesota Genealogical Society Board of Directors, is a member of several national and ethnic genealogy societies, and has lost count of the number of committees she has served on. Liz has published two award-winning books: a collection of WWI letters and photographs titled With Love to All, and a co-authored guide called Husförhörslängder, Swedish Household Examination Records. She researches and lectures professionally as Red Bird Genealogy Services. In addition, Liz plays flute and piccolo professionally, holds a private pilot’s license, and is “Nana” to eleven grandchildren.

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Metes & Bounds Land Plats Solve Genealogical Problems — free replay of tonight's BCG webinar by Jerry Smith, CG now available for limited time

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The recording of today's webinar by the Board for Certification of Genealogists and Jerry Smith, CG, "Metes & Bounds Land Plats Solve Genealogical Problems" is now available to view at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com/BCG for free for a limited time.

Webinar Description

This session provides a brief overview of metes and bounds land descriptions seen in deeds, mortgages, patents, grants, and other land documents. The land descriptions are an essential part of land research. This presentation discusses metes and bounds land descriptions and how the metes and bounds can solve genealogical problems.

View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 22 minute recording of "Metes & Bounds Land Plats Solve Genealogical Problems" is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time.

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Register for Tuesday's BCG webinar — Metes & Bounds Land Plats Solve Genealogical Problems by Jerry Smith, CG

Register for Tuesday's BCG webinar — Metes & Bounds Land Plats Solve Genealogical Problems by Jerry Smith, CG

This session provides a brief overview of metes and bounds land descriptions seen in deeds, mortgages, patents, grants, and other land documents. The land descriptions are an essential part of land research. This presentation discusses metes and bounds land descriptions and how the metes and bounds can solve genealogical problems.

About the presenter

Gerald (Jerry) Smith, CG, researches in Pennsylvania families. He is the IGHR and SLIG course coordinator for the week-long land platting course. He is on faculty for IGHR, SLIG, and GRIP teaching topics in the military, maps, and land record institutes. He has published a number of books and articles, including abstracts of Bedford County, Pennsylvania, Court of Quarter Sessions records. While he resided and researched for many years in Pennsylvania, he recently moved to Illinois to make sure his granddaughter grows up appreciating her family history.

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Introduction to County Research in England — free replay of today's webinar by Mia Bennett now available for limited time

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The recording of today's webinar by Mia Bennett, "Introduction to County Research in England"  is now available to view at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com for free for a limited time.

Webinar Description

Discover the building blocks for researching in the English counties. This talk provides an overview of the key facts you need to know to start researching your English ancestors. Unravel why counties have come and gone with changing boundaries and different types of administrative entities. By understanding which records are stored at national or county level and some of the laws that influenced their collation, you will then be able to effectively concentrate on looking at the specific counties your ancestors came from. Learn about the finding aids and helpful resources to ensure you are set up to take a journey through English research supported by our English Research Series.

View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 26 minute recording of "Introduction to County Research in England" is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time.

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Register for Friday's Webinar — Introduction to County Research in England by Mia Bennett

Register for Friday's Webinar — Introduction to County Research in England by Mia Bennett

Discover the building blocks for researching in the English counties. This talk provides an overview of the key facts you need to know to start researching your English ancestors. Unravel why counties have come and gone with changing boundaries and different types of administrative entities. By understanding which records are stored at national or county level and some of the laws that influenced their collation, you will then be able to effectively concentrate on looking at the specific counties your ancestors came from. Learn about the finding aids and helpful resources to ensure you are set up to take a journey through English research supported by our English Research Series.

About the presenter

Mia Bennett is an English professional genealogist specialising in DNA and genealogical methodology and sources. She is an Associate of the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) and previous trustee of the Society of Genealogists. She is an alumna of the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) & the Genealogy Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP).

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AI and Genealogy: Trouble Ahead? Free replay of today's webinar by Thomas MacEntee now available for limited time

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The recording of today's webinar by Thomas MacEntee, "AI and Genealogy: Trouble Ahead?” is now available to view at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com for free for a limited time.

Webinar Description

While AI (artificial intelligence) might be the current “hot” buzz word, the fact is that many genealogy vendors and even genealogists have already been using this technology for years. The AI industry is at a cross-roads and within the next five years, it will permeate almost every aspect of business and society. Learn how AI is currently being used to improve the genealogy experience, and whether or not you should seek out other uses of artificial intelligence for your own genealogy research.

View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

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Register for Webinar Wednesday — AI and Genealogy: Trouble Ahead? by Thomas MacEntee

Register for Webinar Wednesday — AI and Genealogy: Trouble Ahead? by Thomas MacEntee

While AI (artificial intelligence) might be the current “hot” buzz word, the fact is that many genealogy vendors and even genealogists have already been using this technology for years. The AI industry is at a cross-roads and within the next five years, it will permeate almost every aspect of business and society. Learn how AI is currently being used to improve the genealogy experience, and whether or not you should seek out other uses of artificial intelligence for your own genealogy research.

About the presenter

What happens when a “tech guy” with a love for history gets laid off during The Great Recession of 2008? You get Thomas MacEntee, a genealogy professional based in the United States who is also a blogger, educator, author, social media connector, online community builder and more. Thomas has over 42 years of experience researching family history.

Thomas was laid off after a 25-year career in the information technology field, so he started his own genealogy-related business called High Definition Genealogy. Currently Thomas shares many of his articles and videos for free at the popular Genealogy Bargains website!

Thomas describes himself as a lifelong learner with a background in a multitude of topics who has finally figured out what he does best: teach, inspire, instigate, and serve as a curator and go-to-guy for concept nurturing and inspiration. Thomas is a big believer in success, and that we all succeed when we help each other find success.

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Introduction to the MyHeritage Knowledge Base and the MyHeritage Wiki — free replay of today's webinar by James Tanner now available

Introduction to the MyHeritage Knowledge Base and the MyHeritage Wiki — free replay of today's webinar by James Tanner now available

The recording of today's webinar by James Tanner, "Introduction to the MyHeritage Knowledge Base and the MyHeritage Wiki” is now available to view at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com for free.

Webinar Description

Come and learn about two valuable learning resources from MyHeritage.com: the MyHeritage Knowledge Base and the MyHeritage Wiki. Each of these websites has articles that will help start your genealogical experience or expand your current experience level into previously unfamiliar areas and enable you to master your skills and help you make the most of your research.

View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

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Register for Tuesday's MyHeritage Webinar Series webinar — Introduction to the MyHeritage Knowledge Base and the MyHeritage Wiki by James Tanner

Register for Tuesday's MyHeritage Webinar Series webinar — Introduction to the MyHeritage Knowledge Base and the MyHeritage Wiki by James Tanner

Come and learn about two valuable learning resources from MyHeritage.com: the MyHeritage Knowledge Base and the MyHeritage Wiki. Each of these websites has articles that will help start your genealogical experience or expand your current experience level into previously unfamiliar areas and enable you to master your skills and help you make the most of your research.

About the presenter

James L. Tanner B.A. Degree; Spanish, M.A. Degree; Linguistics, University of Utah. J.D. Degree; Law, Arizona State University. 39 years Arizona trial attorney. Over 39 years in genealogical research. Avid Blogger of Genealogy’s Star. 17 years as a Family History Volunteer. Presently serving at the BYU Family History Library. On the Board of Directors of The Family History Guide Association. Presenter at Expos and Conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Previously owner of a retail computer business and an Apple Macintosh software company. Professional photographer. Seven children and 34 grandchildren. Fluent in Spanish and has done extensive Spanish genealogical research.

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  1. Register at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com today. It's free!
  2. You will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the webinar.
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  6. Click on the webinar link (found in confirmation and reminder emails) prior to the start of the webinar. Arrive early as the room size is limited to the first 1,000 arrivals that day.
  7. Listen via headset (USB headsets work best), your computer speakers, or by phone. 

We look forward to seeing you all there!

 


African Americans in the Army: 1868-1948 — free replay of today's webinar by Janice Lovelace, PhD now available for limited time

2024-02-09-image500blog

The recording of today's webinar by Janice Lovelace, PhD, "African Americans in the Army: 1868-1948” is now available to view at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com for free for a limited time.

Webinar Description

Following the Civil War, when nearly 200,000 African American men served, the U.S. Army established 4 African American infantry (later modified to 2) and 2 cavalry regiments in 1868. They initially served in the West but fought in the Spanish American War and the two World Wars in segregated units. It was not until 1948 that Executive Order 9981 integrated the military. What was life like for these soldiers? Where do you find service and pension records?

View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 7 minute recording of "African Americans in the Army: 1868-1948" is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time.

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eBay for Genealogy: A Rescue Story

There’s no doubt that genealogically-relevant records end up in unexpected places. Sure, we find records via genealogy websites, libraries, archives, and as home sources, but they can also be found in someone’s attic or even with an antique dealer. Records can be almost everywhere.

Case in point. The Medford, Massachusetts 1905 School Census.

Medford Mass School Census Cover

I’m not sure how I found the census on eBay since I usually search for cookbooks, postcards, and ephemera, but I must have conducted a search on “census” to see what I could find for a presentation. Some of the results included US federal census transcription books but amidst what was there was the original Medford, Massachusetts school census.

The title of the listing was “Medford MASS 1905 School Census Fabulous book! family listings and addresses.” As I looked at the images and read the description, I knew that this item belonged with a repository so that researchers could benefit from the information.

Medford Mass School Census Title Page

The school census included the following information:

  • Name of the Student
  • Sex
  • Date of Birth
  • Age (years and months)
  • Name of parent or person in charge
  • Residence
  • Remarks

Medford Mass School Census Example Page

What a great resource for the names of school-aged children and their parents (or guardians).

I felt strongly about this item, but I also knew I couldn’t save everything. My personal research isn’t in Medford, Massachusetts. This record wasn’t part of any of my non-family history research interests. But I couldn’t bear to watch it not go to a repository.

I went ahead and contacted a friend who works for a library I thought would be interested. When they weren’t, I had to come up with a Plan B. I was running out of time since the auction was ending, and I risked someone buying it. So, I decided to bid on it. I ended up with the highest bid and won the auction. The question was, now what? I was the proud owner of an item I didn’t need and wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it.

Mail Call

The census ledger eventually arrived at my house, and record-wise, it was beautiful. It was in good shape, and the handwriting was legible. It definitely was something that researchers with ancestors in that area would love to see. After taking photos and keeping it safe for about 4 months, I knew I needed to do something with it. I needed to get it out of my home and into the hands of those who could preserve it and make it accessible to researchers. But who?

I had quite a few options in mind, but in the end, I decided to crowdsource the problem. I posted my dilemma on Facebook. I added photos of the school census book and tagged various friends who worked at libraries and archives. I wrote that I was looking for a home for the census and would donate it to an interested repository. It wasn’t too long after I posted that I found the census a new home. The FamilySearch Library.

Rescue Tips

Now that the school census is safely with the librarians at the FamilySearch Library (and will be available for research in the future) I can reflect on some suggestions I have if you’re tempted to rescue “lost” records or genealogically relevant items.

  1. It will cost you. Whether it’s eBay or the local antique store, the item will have a cost. Even when I’ve had contact with the seller and explained my intentions for the item, at most, I’ve received a 10% discount. And that’s ok. The seller paid for it, and they deserve to make a living. They don’t care about my good intentions. The items I’ve “rescued” I’ve paid for and did not accept any reimbursement from the family or the repository I gifted them to. I chose to do this and so I accept the cost.

  2. That “perfect” place may not want it. In fact, no one may want it for a variety of reasons, including duplications, not part of their collection guidelines, lack of storage space, or it’s just not what they want. I’ve had this happen more than once and, in fact, have seen collections of stuff that should be perfect, in my opinion, for a repository, and they refuse it. You have to accept that. While I decided to crowdsource my census record, if that hadn’t worked, I would have digitized the item and placed it on my own website or blog, giving me time to find a permanent home for the future.

  3. It can quickly get out of hand. Rescuing anything, whether it’s correspondence, photos, or documents, can be addicting. But it can also become a burden. It will cost you money, time, and storage. And in my opinion, you have to have an end game because if/when you pass away, your family won’t be as conscientious about getting the item to the right person. My kids (and most likely yours) aren’t interested in reuniting heirlooms and records. They have their own hobbies and interests.

Rescuing orphan items isn’t for everyone, and that’s ok. In some cases, I find something and then alert a friend who works with a repository about the item, and then I walk away. I’m available if they need me to pick it up, mail it, etc., but I let them take over. Sometimes just letting others know about the existence of something can help it get into the right hands.

As researchers, we depend on records, and sometimes records aren’t where we would expect. Rescoring those records or alerting others to their existence can help them get into the right hands and benefit us all.

 

Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, instructor, and researcher. She blogs at Gena's Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. You can find her presentations on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.