Flummoxed - Leaving a Legacy
Back to Family History for the Flummoxed
You feel a need to leave a legacy, but you are probably overwhelmed by the sheer number of available alternatives. You may also be daunted by the knowledge, skills, and technology you'll need to move ahead.
Keep The Vision Foremost
Never forget the reasons you came to this page:
- You realize that an important story is unfolding.
- You feel that you have a part to play in the story.
- You want to learn how to effectively tell the story.
- You want to leave a permanent way-marker for those who come after.
The path ahead will be filled with "how tos" that tend to distract. Always remember the "why" and you'll not lose courage along the way.
Recognize the Basic Steps
The basic steps to leaving a Family History legacy are simple. The technology you choose may range from pencil and paper to printed books to computer databases. Whatever technology you choose, keep the term "archival" toward the top of your priorities—you want your contribution to last.
Gather and Preserve
Organize and Synthesize
- Organizing Your Files
- "Synthesize" means "to combine a number of separate elements into a coherent whole."
No appropriate article on family history synthesis has been found to link to. Instead it is recommended that anyone undertaking to synthesize a family history purchase A Celebration of Family History (a FamilySearch DVD, $4.50) and listen to David McCullough's presentation. Grasping the meaning of "synthesis" is essential to telling your family's story.
Editorialize and Contribute
- You are welcome to editorialize on what you brought together, but make sure that your own comments are clearly identified as editorial in nature and not mixed with your verified sources.
- Add your own part of the story as a journal, a life synopsis, a personal history or in any other way you choose. Check out the many FamilySearch Wiki articles about writing a Personal History.
Publish and Distribute
- Among the best tools for publishing and distributing your family's history is the FamilySearch Family Tree. In Family Tree you can create a record of all the vital life events for each deceased ancestor. Then you can add photos, stories, sources, and other information to honor their memory. As your work progresses, you will be creating what is called a "trans-generational family narrative" and leaving a treasure to be preserved at FamilySearch through the coming centuries.
- If you haven't already done so, begin by creating an account with Family Search and logging in. Next, click on the "Family Tree" link at the top center of this page. Welcome to the journey!