Above left, a photo of part of the mess I inherited. My parents left cardboard boxes of papers jumbled together with photos and movies and other stuff. On the right, what I'm bequeathing to my genealogy heirs: Photos and original documents organized by surname and family, in archival boxes for safekeeping.
I especially wanted to protect certain artifacts in archival boxes, including:
- The college scrapbook of my late father-in-law, Edgar James Wood (1903-1986), which is 90 years old but still in good shape;
- The 1946 wedding album of my parents, Daisy Schwartz (1919-1981) and Harold Burk (1909-1978), which was deteriorating;
- The 1916 wedding portrait from my great uncle Alex Farkas (1885-1948) and Jennie Katz (1886-1974), which includes my maternal grandparents among the family members pictured.
Remember, you have to put your instructions into a written "genealogical will" so the next generation knows what you have, where your collection is located, and why it's important to save the family's history.
The NUMBER ONE thing we can all do is to put captions on our old photos. If we do nothing else, this will at least help future generations know who's who and how each person is related. Mystery photos might get tossed out, but not identified photos.