Did you know that not everyone cares about genealogy? Gasp! It is the #2 hobby in America, though. (Do you know what the #1 hobby is? Keep reading to find out!)
Sometimes when I talk about family history I am, indeed, referring to genealogy. But not always. So, what else falls under the umbrella term family history? Think about your own things as you read this list. Some items will belong to more than one category.
Family history includes…
- Keepsake: A small item kept in memory of the person who gave it or owned it.
- Memorabilia: Objects kept or collected because of their historical interest. Especially those associated with memorable people or events.
- Photos: If we collect nothing else, consider this: we all take more photos per day with our digital phone cameras than our ancestors took in their entire lifetimes!
- Genealogy research materials: These range from vital records (birth, marriage and death certificates) and census records, to research notes, historical and biographical documents and books, maps, photos (paper and digital), and family bibles.
- Medical history: This is important to know when faced with certain illnesses and conditions.
- Pedigree chart, a.k.a. family tree: This is the most common way to organize the information gleaned from genealogy research materials. If you think pedigrees are just for royalty, dogs, and horses, think again!
Why organize your family history?
- So you can easily find what you are looking for when you want to read it, use it, admire it, display it, share it with others, or reminisce.
- To be prepared in the case of a death (think obituary, tribute slide show, etc.) or illness (medical history).
- To be prepared in the case of a natural disaster (think backing up your files and grab and go).
- So someone else (in the event you are no longer available) can make sense of your memorabilia and your research. Don’t let your treasures and hard work go to waste!
- So your space, and your mind, and your computer hard drive don’t get cluttered with so many important things that none of them ends up being important.
- So you don’t miss valuable genealogy puzzle pieces hidden in your mystery piles of paper.
- So your work area isn’t a mess that distracts you from being productive and enjoying your genealogy research.
When is the best time to organize your family history?
As you can probably guess, the best time is NOW. But there are some other good times, such as:
- The New Year. Why? Because get organized is always one of the top 5 resolutions.
- When a child or grandchild is born, graduates, or gets married.
- When a parent reaches a milestone birthday or retirement.
- When someone – you, or a loved one – falls ill or dies, but hopefully long before that happens, so you’re prepared.
Which of your family history categories have you already organized? Which ones need some work?
Don’t forget to ask for help if you need it!
Please share your family history organizing tips and plans in the comments below.
Oh, and by the way – did you guess? — the #1 hobby in America is gardening.
Copyright 2018 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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