Six Weeks and Counting…Genealogy New Year’s Resolutions Going, Going, Gone?

We are a nation at war. We are a nation of prosperity, with a Forbes-predicted growth for 2007 at 6% or better. We work fewer hours to make more money than any generation before us.

And, genealogy is a leisure-time pursuit for more than two million countable U.S. genealogists. You see, for genealogy to flourish we need this exact environment–

  1. leisure time–where we can choose how to spend our hours
  2. income greater than expenses–called discretionary or expendable income
  3. perception of a world in chaos and filled with unrest
  4. reality of peace and well-being–the distant war hardly ripples our surface

Now, add new technology to bring resources for research into our homes–we don’t even have to travel to begin our searches. And add research tools that speed access as well as understanding of family data. Is it any wonder that genealogy interest has more than doubled in the last five years?

Did you make genealogy resolutions for 2007?

Actually, my resolution to share what I know about my family background with my children, crystallized in 2006. I prepared the story and the documentation on my Kewley ancestors who came to America from the Isle of Man, lost a three-year-old boy on the train near Cleveland OH, stopped their western journey long enough to bury him, then made their way to Utah with the ill-fated Martin Handcart Company. Among the rescue party was another ancestor, teamster John Carlisle, who later married frost-bitten Margaret Kewley.

Thanks to my cousin Darrin Lythgow, part of the story was easily available on the internet. And thanks to the publicity given this event by the LDS Church the past 10 years, another part of the story is available in beautifully-illustrated accounts in print and on public television. And thanks to Manx historians and public officials, part of the story appears on official government websites with links to sites maintained by private funds and efforts. How grateful I am that I can expand my own researches and knowledge with these generous sources.

This resolution of mine will continue from year to year. I’ll prepare an ancestor segment for them for Christmas. And it matches my broader wish to help preserve the genealogy collected and compiled by others that might be lost, if there is no place to deposit those valuable manuscript materials. Your time-consuming genealogy work needs public access.

I just got home from the St. George UT Genealogy and Family Heritage Jamboree. Over 500 attendees pre-registered, and numerous others came from all over the United States to learn and buy and share genealogy research know-how. By clicking on the banner above, you can still order copies of the syllabus–it is well worth the cost!

At the conference, Thomas Kemp, of, expressed his concerns to me about the loss of people’s hard-earned family history. Without some place to deposit and without encouragement to provide for their stuff while they still have a chance to do it, many precious things will continue to be lost.

Make this your own New Year’s Resolution:
Six weeks into the New Year, I decided to make a plea in this Genealogy News Sheet:

Make your own New Year’s resolution to ensure your genealogy manuscripts and photographs will be preserved and made accessible in your absence.

Choose in advance where your stuff will be deposited if your children do not have the room or the interest in keeping your genealogy. Genealogy libraries and public library local history rooms often accept personal collections that apply to their areas of interest. And remember the Genealogy Library Center, Inc. which my husband Alma Eakle and I set up so your personal genealogy collections that might other wise be destroyed could have a home. (See Genealogy New Sheet 29 Dec 2006 for the collections currently deposited with us.)
Please don’t wait until you have time to organize your manuscripts or to convert all the data you have collected to digital format. Make plans now. Then you can work to get your stuff ready to deposit. Your children will thank you and the genealogy world will bless your name in future years as they use what you collected and shared.

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