19 January 2011

Don't Let Yourself Be A Future Brickwall

I don't want to be a brickwall for my descendants.  I am sure they will have enough of those to solve without me adding to the frustration.  When I was making my 2011 genealogical goals one of my 11 for 11 was to "Research myself!  Add personal facts to my genealogical software."

I started using Roots Magic as my software program and it has a very nice selection of facts to add to each person.  If by chance there isn't a fact for your situation, you can create one.  So, I really don't have any excuse for not adding my facts to the program.  I guess I just get hung up on researching the past.

Well, no more!  I am going to research myself!  Here is some of the information I plan on leaving for future generations.  I hope they will be thanking me and I become one of their favorite ancestors.

  1. Records and Certificates recording significant events in my life.  For example, birth certificate, baptismal certificate, school records (high school and college), and marriage certificate.  In addition to the certificates I am trying to write a few lines about each document.  For example, future researchers may want to know why I was baptized 200 miles from my birth place.  It was the church my parents were married in and there wasn't a Lutheran church in my hometown.
  2. Residence/Census Information.  They won't be scratching their heads wondering where I lived in 2010 Census, I have put a residence fact for each place and a note with the time period I have lived there.  I added who was head of household and who else lived there at that time.  I  included the street address, too.  I included pictures for those places I have pictures for.
  3. Property/Land Records. We have owned two houses in my 30 years of marriage and I plan to add that information with a scan of the deeds and/or mortgage papers. 
  4. School Information and Pictures.  I have quite a few class pictures from elementary school.  I plan to scan them into my program.  I scanned my Kindergarten one in and when I went to list my classmates, I couldn't remember all their names.  So, I posted it on facebook and asked my friends (I have connected with a few friends from elementary school there) and we came up with all but 4 names out of a class of 28 or so.
  5. Information from scrapbooks and memory books I have.  I have a memory book from confirmation, high school senior year and my wedding.  I have receipts from various things in each.  I plan to go through them and scan (with my flip pal!) interesting things I saved.  I have 2 scrapbooks from my childhood and teen years that I want to go through.  They are in pretty rough shape.  I have newspaper clippings from the Detroit Riots, Top 100 Song lists for a few years, TV Guide articles on Batman, and clippings about the Detroit Tigers in the 60's.  All things I remember being interested in, and maybe a little obsessed about(Batman!?).
  6. Memories of my life.  In addition to having the facts for my ancestors, I especially enjoy when I can learn more about the person.  I plan to write in the notes section information about my likes, dislikes, activities and any other memories from my past.  I think I will write a few blog posts about this, too.  I have a feeling 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History will keep me focused.
  7. Pictures!  I would like to scan in pictures from various points in my life and write a little about my memories of the picture.  I may even ask my parents about them and see what they remember.
I am sure there are more facts I will think of as I get going.  Researching myself should be fun as I know just where the information is and I won't have to spend any money to get the information.  I suppose I am taking some of the fun out of their research, but as I said before, they will have others that give them headaches.  Hopefully, I can leave enough information for future generations and I will be smiling down from above as they read about me.

What kind of information would you like to leave for your ancestors?


  1. This is an excellent idea and I've often thought how I neglect collecting information on the living persons in my family, including myself. I guess I just find the dead a whole lot more interesting!

  2. I, too, find the dead more interesting! Once I document myself I plan to move on to other living members of my family.

  3. I've got quite a bit of information on myself. i find myself almost as interesting as dead people. i've collected info on my husband and children as well. It's in binders mostly and I need to scan it in and fill in the blanks. I like the idea of listing houses and households with photos.

  4. As someone who has written her family history, I can attest collecting information from dead people is far easier then seeking the co-operation of the living. But of course that doesn't stop me from being a nag.

  5. Kristin, you are on your way to becoming someone's favorite ancestor. I am glad you are including yourself and family members in your research.

    Lynn, your descendents will appreciate your nagging in the future!

  6. This is an interesting idea that most of us neglect while being so busy collecting data on past ancestors. I suspect there's at least a little bit of reluctance to record details of the living for privacy reasons, or at least I always get a little inner twinge when I consider the possibility it might get inadvertently published and cause a privacy concern. I may not go as whole-hog as you, but I'll certainly be adding more information about me to my database.

  7. Daniel, I understand your privacy concerns. My Roots Magic software program allows me to mark information as private and I use that for all living persons in my database. Any information marked private doesn't show up on the reports. I am very careful about that.