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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Your Family Legacy

The popularity of sites such as ancestry.com is not really a new phenomenon. The founders took what used to be passed down through generations via mediums like family Bibles, and put it online using, for the most part, public records.

 

That's a great idea and it has really caught on. Congratulations to ancestry.com for that very successful business idea.

If you're anything like me though, there are things about myself and family that I don't necessarily want made known as a public record.  But I do want the information passed on to my grandchildren and other generations to come.


That is why I have kept a journal most of my life.  From an early age, I have felt that there would be important aspects of my life and my family's lives that might be of great interest to those who come after me.  I started journalling as a child with the typical things such as boys I had crushes on and how unfair my parents were to me as the oldest child (don't all oldest children feel that way?) and important events that occurred at school or in my community.  But over the years, my stories have evolved into more in-depth things. I now write about things such as records of family births, deaths, marriages, divorces, our grandchildren's "firsts", last precious moments with loved ones who have passed on, my walk with God and many other things that I think generations after me might be interested in.  These are the types of things you just cannot get from public record.  Although, with Facebook and other social media, some families might!   For my family, they will need to be able to find my many journals and my Bible to get this family history.


How do I ensure they can find the journals?

  

Well, for starters, I have to know where they are.  You might think that's funny. But we have moved so many times in our lives being military and even after retirement with business, that it's not always an easy task knowing where the journals have ended up.  After our last move, I gathered them all together and put them in a safe place.  I'm praying that I don't have a fire or other natural disaster that would destroy them. It's not really feasible to scan them all and make them digitally available; although at some point I might consider that with new technology that's being developed.  But for now, I have a special letter that I've written to our daughter that is safely stored and shared with her in SafelyFiled. I've asked her to read that letter first when the time comes for me to leave this earth.   I have also taken photos of the journals so she knows what they look like physically and I have that photo complete with the location of where I store them documented in the location field within my SafelyFiled account.  In that way, not only will she know where to look for them when I'm gone, but if I ever start to lose my memory, even momentary lapses, I too can look in my account and remind myself where I've put them.  And if I can't remember how to get into my account, she can help me with that too.

I would have loved the ability to open up journals of my ancestors and read, not just about facts and public records, but about what they were thinking, feeling, and what was going on in their community and family during their lives.  I hope my family generations will want to do that as well.  It will be like I'm able to talk with them personally about what was happening during my time and how much I love them, even if I never get to meet them here.

What about your family legacy?  

 

You may not keep formal journals.  But what is it you do keep?  What is it that you would want your loved ones to know when you're gone?  It could include anything from thoughts, prayers, poems, stories, videos and pictures; to final wishes, estate plans, and other legal or financial documents and records.  A well-known financial guru, Dave Ramsey, writes about that aspect in his blog here that you may want to read.  Whatever it is, don't wait until it's too late to start getting that together for your family and making it available to whomever you want.

And don't forget your digital legacy!  That's more important now than ever.  If you don't want your Facebook, email and other online accounts to live on well after you do, and accessible to entities that may mean harm, be sure to have a plan for those to be closed down when you go.  You can use our free checklist, Managing your Digital Legacy, which can be downloaded and filled out from our website here to help with that. 


Tweet: "With a little forethought you can leave a legacy for your family that is based on your real life, not just based on public record"


 

 

 

 

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