Archive for Organize Your Legacy

The Downsizing Decision Matrix + Your Personal Inventory

 

Face it, everyone downsizes their worldly possessions at some point, either voluntarily or involuntarily. You either do it before you die, or after you die. And you either do it yourself, or someone else has the burden of doing it for you. Which do you choose?

Here is a tool to help you decide.


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How to organize your family tree at any budget

The genealogy research money tree.

Genealogy research can be an expensive hobby if you factor in computer programs, tools, memberships, documentation fees, research trips, books, seminars, and conferences! (Hmmm, wonder how much I’ve spent over the years? Not to mention the time invested…)

But it doesn’t have to cost a penny.

I want to help everyone who’s interested in discovering, organizing, preserving, and sharing their family histories regardless of where they live, or how much money they have. But there’s only one of me, and I need to make a living too (so I can’t work for free). In this post, I’ve listed some options for researching and organizing your documents, memorabilia, and photos, in order of affordability.

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The Basic Genealogy Checklist

Genealogy checklistThis little book is a gem! The Basic Genealogy Checklist: 101 Tips & Tactics to Find Your Family History, by Henrietta M. Christmas and Paul F. Rhetts.

Henrietta and Paul are longtime friends (of each other). She is the President of the New Mexico Genealogical Society, and a recent acquaintance of mine; he has written over two dozen nonfiction and history books. As a longtime genealogy researcher who has started providing family history research services to others, I was curious enough about this new book to attend their signing, at Bookworks Albuquerque, and to buy a copy for myself. Just so you know, this review was my idea, not theirs.

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Top 10 Reasons Why Genealogy is for Everybody!

Genealogy research might sound hard, but it’s mostly just time consuming. And pedigree charts might sound fancy, but they’re really just family trees. Pedigrees aren’t only for royalty and purebred dogs!

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Kicking the Bucket List (a short book review)

Vector illustration of bucketThere are a lot of good books out there that I don’t take the time to review for you. But this one fits so well into the Organize Your Legacy portion of my business that I couldn’t resist. It’s called Kicking the Bucket List: 100 Downsizing & Organizing Things to Do Before You Die, by Gail Rubin.

I received this book for free, to review if I felt so inclined, but (don’t tell the author) I probably would have bought a copy anyway. I met Gail Rubin at a talk I gave earlier this year called “Who Will Check My Email When I Die?” We are so much on the same wavelength that when I read Kicking the Bucket List I thought, “Well, there’s another book I don’t have to write!” I will be recommending it to all of my organizing clients, and… hmmm… holiday gifts for my family?

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How NOT to Save Your Photos

photos

Photos found in donated books (click to enlarge)

I volunteer weekly at my local Friends for the Library. We price and sort donated books for our monthly used book sales (at which I also run a cash register), and we have a lovely used book shop in the Main library downtown which is open six days a week. We raise around $200K every year for library programs such as the Summer Reading Program for children.

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Family History Lost & Found

My grandpa, dad, and brother

My grandpa, dad, and brother

Have you ever lost part of your family history and found it again? Do you still have unsolved mysteries that intrigue you?

In Puzzling Out Your Family History I talked about the joys and challenges of doing one’s own genealogy research. In The Gift of an Organized Family Tree I described my genealogy introductory package.  My new Family History Research Services web page includes Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), the first of which is, “What the heck does genealogy have to do with organizing?” In Gifts I Got from Mom, I shared more of my personal story.

And here’s how it all began…..

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Mother’s Day — Gifts I Got from Mom

Me and mom reading together. Albuquerque, summer 1959.

Me and mom (and my little brother-to-be) reading together. Albuquerque, summer 1959.

I grew up in a family of six, with my parents, three younger brothers, and few relatives. Certainly none that lived nearby. My parents did not share family stories or photos. Not really. There were slide shows of our own family vacations  that we all enjoyed, but nothing historical. I guess they were too busy working and raising us up. It wasn’t until I undertook my first genealogy project, in my 30’s, that I discovered, on my dad’s side, that I am from a long line of Quakers. Including Quaker Loyalists (wrong side of the Revolutionary War, maybe, but fascinating nonetheless) and prominent Quaker ministers. My dad, a Christian minister himself (later a VA chaplain), had no idea, despite the fact that there was only one generation separating him from full-on Quakerism. I guess his family didn’t share much either. (The last generation was largely disowned for marrying outside their faith and such, which is bad, but not as harsh as Amish shunning). Maybe I’ll write more about that for Father’s Day.

My mom was quite interested in my genealogical pursuits as well, offering up unsubstantiated but tantalizing “facts” and bits of lore I’d never heard before in my life, such as: (more…)

Talking about death won’t kill you, LOL!

Depositphotos_14013050_l-2015I recently spoke at a business networking luncheon attended by 80 people. My topic was “Who Will Check My Email When I Die?”

I worried that no one would want to come hear me talk about death, especially when it started snowing that morning. But they did! And they loved it. I could tell because they nodded, and laughed, and told me later that they had started conversations with their loved ones about virtual wills and such. Mission accomplished!

Here are some of the ways people reacted to my topic before-hand: (more…)

The Gift of an Organized Family Tree

4 Generation Pedigree Chart

My own 4-generation pedigree chart

Who wants their chart done? Family tree pedigree chart, that is?

If you think pedigrees are just for royalty and purebred dogs, think again! Genealogy makes history personal for everyone. And a family tree makes a great gift for a loved one…or for yourself!

I’ve only been providing this service to others for a year now, but I’m not at all new to doing family history research. (See FAQ to learn more about what you can expect from me.)

I just finished a 4-generation pedigree chart (up to the 8 great-grandparents level) for a client. I sent her a bunch of files to print out and put into a binder, along with some family photos, using the chart as the binder cover, for her Dad’s birthday. Here’s what she and others have had to say:

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