"Ten Ways to Be a Better Ancestor"
Plus "Ten MORE  Ways to Be a Better Ancestor"
(Plus a few more)
- Paul L. Enchelmayer
Here are over 20 possible ways to help future genealogists find you, your ancestors, descendants, and family history projects. They are presented in no particular order of importance. You can probably think of at least ten more.
 
1. Attend all reunion opportunities.
(Weddings, memorials, anniversaries, etc.) 
Make contact with interested relatives.
http://www.genealogy.com/1_share.html
https://familysearch.org/blog/en/easy-ways-enrich-family-reunion/ 
 
2. Gather YOUR personal, vital documents and those of your family.
Find your own birth and marriage (and divorce) records.
 
3. Organize your genealogy collection including photos and heirlooms.
This is a major goal of the entire project. 
What to organize:  Documents, birth, death marriage certificates. (Don't forget your own!) How to organize: Filing cabinet. Boxes. Albums, binders…whatever works for you.
http://www.familytreemagazine.com/family-tree-tips-23-secrets-to-organize-your-genealogy 
https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Organize_your_genealogy
 
4. Write your own obituary and biography.
What was important to you? List your accomplishments, most current first.
Include key dates and places. Do it NOW, revise it periodically.
http://www.obituaryguide.com/writeyourown.php
http://obitkit.com
 
5. Keep copies of data elsewhere
Data files: External drive backup, CDs, flash drives. Online backup (Carbonite, Mozy, etc.).
http://www.carbonite.com/   
http://mozy.com/product/mozy
Share with trusted relative your genealogy software and website passwords and usernames for your online accounts – necessary to obtain your data and/or close your accounts.
 
6.  Get your data into a library or archive.
Submit unpublished reports and materials to Allen County Public Library: "Photocopy Exchange Program."
(It's free.) Visit their website at:  
http://www.genealogycenter.org/Community/E-zine.aspx
 
7. Print a paper copy of major reports.
A new user or manager of your data collection needs to know some examples of charts that your software can generate.
Examples: five-generation pedigree chart, common family ancestor chart, etc.
 
8.  Have an "Online Presence".
Start and maintain a family history website. Use caution with the information you are willing to share.
Join social networking online:
Facebook, genealogywise, Anccestry.com, etc. Contact possible collaborators.
https://www.facebook.com
http://www.ancestry.com
http://www.genealogywise.com/
  
9. Identify heir(s) for the collection.
Include entire genealogy collection, or split the collection, if needed.  "Assigns" responsibility.
Choose adult relative.
 
10. Join a DNA study. Join at highest level affordable. Tell others of your effort.
http://genealogy.about.com/od/dna_genetics/a/dna-tests.htm
Most popular: https://www.familytreedna.com/ 
Another: https://www.23andme.com/
 
11. Get that book published and  into the hands of young relatives. Self- publishing easier than ever.
 http://genealogy.about.com/od/dna_genetics/a/dna-tests.htm
 
12. Learn your surname's history and meaning… and let others know.
Beware of deceptive services.
Try http://surnames.behindthename.com/
Surname meanings may help you find family collaborators.
 
13.  Identify interested family members… including extended family.
 Use family gatherings to locate potential partners for your genealogy projects.
(They could be the inheritors of your information collection.)
 
14.  Preserve diaries and journals.
Has someone has prepared a daily report of opinion, emotions and facts?
What details can you retrieve applicable to important personal and family events?  
Future generations will like to know.
http://blog.genealogybank.com/where-to-put-that-old-family-journal-online.html
 
15.  Write a letter to the future family.
Wouldn't you like to know how your great-grandparent considered important enough to write a journal.
It's never to late to start your own. Summarize your concerns about the importance and value of family data, stories and even legends.
http://www.oberlin.edu/alummag/oamcurrent/oam_fall98/children.html  
 
16.  Find all your cousins, aunts, uncles.
Relatives are loaded with details and stories of relatives.
Some might even be true. It is never too late to renew family friendships and share histories.
http://www.genealogy.com/00000678.html  
 
17.  Tell those old family stories to the newer generations.
Your parents, aunts and uncles have told you family stories. Have you retold those tales?
http://www.familytree.com/blog/tips-to-for-preserving-your-family-stories/
 
18. Write instructions and wishes to descendants. Let SOMEONE know your wants regarding the family's history.
What do you want to happen to your genealogy information?  Would you like the research to continue, or perhaps be distributed?
http://www.sagahuus.com/profile/page/send-your-memories-to-the-future_91.htm
http://www.familytreemagazine.com/article/family-story-short-takes
 
19. Get blank census forms for each census and fill them out with accurate information, have each decade.
 
Complete the blank forms with the facts you have found about the family for each decade.
This compact, "big picture" helps create interest in potential family historians.
http://www.ancestry.com/download/Forms
 
20.  Get that book published and into the hands of young relatives.
Self- publishing easier than ever.
http://genealogy.about.com/od/publishing/
 
21. Choose the best portrait of each important ancestor or relative.
Get it restored/preserved. Display or store carefully, fully labeled with name, dates, location.
http://www.scantips.com/restore.html
 
22.  Never stop your genealogy project…but take a break…take several.
Keep yourself busy: Researching, organizing, writing, sharing – but do take a break!
 
(As you can see, the list can continue.)
 
© paulench@hotmail.com