Flummoxed - Leaving a Legacy

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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:

  1. You realize that an important story is unfolding.
  2. You feel that you have a part to play in the story.
  3. You want to learn how to effectively tell the story.
  4. 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