25 January 2009

What Happens To My Research When I Am Gone?

Well, this is all up to you. Yes, you can have it your way but you have to have a way to let them know.

Everyone should have a will prepared. Even if you do not have assets for your heirs to fight over. It is the best gift you can leave a dear one who is left to handle your affairs.

Take me for instance....I do not have any property or huge amounts of cash to leave my sons, but I have written my will. In it I have left them instructions on how to dispose of my things, you know, my "stuff". Like my collection of Barbie dolls, I have over 350 of them. The earliest being one of the first Barbies that Mummy Dahling purchased when I was born. Barbie was born the same month and year that I was. I also have a huge collection of buttons (75 jars) and beads (93 jars). I have left them instructions for the funeral service and burial preferences. I have written each of my 3 boys a letter to be opened only after I am gone. I tell each of them how special they are to me and how much I love them. These are in the folder along with the will.

But MOST importantly I drafted this codicil to my will regarding my genealogical research.


To my spouse, children, guardian, administrator and/or executor:

Upon my demise it is requested that you DO NOT dispose of any or all of my genealogical records, both those prepared personally by me and those records prepared by others which may be in my possession, including but not limited to books, files, notebooks or computer programs. Please attempt to identify one or more persons who would be willing to take custody of the said materials and the responsibility of maintaining and continuing the family histories.

If you know some one already who are likely candidates to accept these materials add the following: "I suggest the following person(s)" and then list their names, addresses and phone numbers.

In the event you do not find any one to accept these materials, please contact the various genealogical organizations that I have been a member of and determine if they will accept some parts or all of my genealogical materials.

Here is where you should list all the organizations you belong to with addresses and phone numbers

Please remember that my genealogical endeavors consumed a great deal of time, travel and money. Therefore it is my desire that the products of these endeavors be allowed to continue in a manner that will make them available to others in the future.

Then sign and date this paper and it wouldn't hurt to have a witness sign and date it as well.

It's kind of creepy to make plans for this kind of thing but this really isn't about you, it is for your loved ones left behind that have to deal with it. Make it easier on them and get your will and genealogical codicil written soon!


  1. Thank you so much for mentioning this yesterday during Scanfest and then following through with the post.

    As Craig Manson said, not enough attention is paid to this area of our genealogy research!

  2. I'm going to make a copy of this to be incorporated into my will - thank you so much for making the job easier.

  3. I thought it was kind of funny when I saw your blog on what to do with your research when you're gone, because I was just talking about that with a friend earlier in the day. I have no children so what happens to all this work that I have done? Thank you for such a great suggestion!!

  4. I think i also wrote about this a little while back....

    A definate must to organise ALL the genealogy research. Dont forget about emails, and websites, blogs etc - passwords are VERY important for those whom can take over. My emails account has already a ton of stuff, possibly some genealogy stuff i have missed, or forgotten to followup on.